Dr Mike Evans

Aliyah numbers surge so far to 31 percent over 2020 newcomers

Aliyah to Israel has made a comeback so far in 2021, with more than 20,000 people coming to the nation, marking a 31 percent gain over the previous year. The increase is notable for occurring in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Current estimates through the end of the year anticipate more than 26,000 people will make aliyah. While this mark would remain below the pre-pandemic total in 2019, it marks continued improvement as the nation prepares to celebrate Aliyah Day later in October.

According to the data, the largest number of new residents have come from Russia, with 5,075 immigrants. The United States ranked second with 3,104 through the end of September.

In July, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency estimated that more than 5,000 Americans would move to Israel by the year’s end. If so, the number would be 42 percent above the annual average.

According i24 News, immigration from France increased by 55 percent, with 2,819 olim; 2,123 from Ukraine (4 percent increase); 780 from Belarus (69 percent increase); 633 from Argentina (46 percent increase); 490 from the United Kingdom (20 percent increase), 438 from Brazil (4 percent increase); and 373 from South Africa (56 percent increase).

The numbers are something to be celebrated for multiple reasons. First, the increased numbers show return to the Jewish homeland has become a high priority for many Jews during the pandemic.

Second, the numbers are also a sign of a return to airline travel. Most of 2020 limited flights internationally, offering few opportunities from nations that required a flight.

Third, Israel continues to offer work and educational opportunities that attract newcomers to the nation. The growing “work from anywhere” movement, where individuals work remotely from a computer, has increased the options for new people as well.

With the continued economic growth across the nation, it’s no surprise to find continued growth in the number of people coming to the nation. The only surprise may be how quickly the increase has returned. Many predicted it would be 2022 before Israel began seeing larger numbers of people move to the nation again. The latest information suggests Israel’s post-pandemic growth is already well under way.