(JNS.org) The Jewish Agency for Israel said that 2016 will see a record 700 Brazilian Jews immigrate to Israel.
According to the Jewish Agency, 650 Brazilian Jews have already made aliyah this year, with around another 50 expected by the end of December. This is up from 496 new Brazilian immigrants in 2015 and 280 in 2014.
“The Brazilian Jewish community is a warm, Zionist community with strong ties to Israel,” Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said during a visit to Brazil. “Since Israel’s establishment, more than 15,000 Brazilian Jews have immigrated to Israel, contributing to the Jewish state’s national character and strength.”
The head of the Jewish Agency delegation in Brazil, Revital Poleg, noted that the increase in aliyah is tied to the ongoing economic crisis in Brazil, but is also rooted in the strong ties the country’s Jewish community has to Israel.
“Many of the immigrants note that they view Israel as a place where they can lead Jewish lives in an environment that feels like home,” said Poleg. “Some 70 percent of the immigrants are young families who want to provide their children with high-quality education, or young people looking to start university studies in Israel and build their careers there.”
With about 120,000 Jews, Brazil is home to the second-largest Jewish community in Latin America after Argentina.