(JNS.org) Israel saw approximately 27,000 new immigrants arrive this year, with newcomers from Russia and Brazil rising significantly but overall immigrations down from 31,000 in 2015, according to newly released year-end figures from the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Aliyah and Immigration Absorption.
Some 7,000 immigrants arrived in Israel from Russia, which was the highest country total, up from 6,600 who arrived in 2015. But all the other top countries for aliyah saw declines from their 2015 totals. Approximately 5,500 immigrants arrived from Ukraine, compared to 7,221 who came last year. An estimated 5,000 new immigrants came from France, compared to 7,900 in 2015. Aliyah from the U.S. amounted to 2,900 immigrants, compared to 3,070 last year.
Nevertheless, there were increases in aliyah from some other countries. Newcomers from Brazil increased significantly, with some 760 immigrants in 2016 compared to 497 in 2015. Immigration from Belarus and South Africa also saw increases this year.
“The high numbers of immigrants over the past two years were due, in part, to a series of external factors that have changed or disappeared, at least for the moment,” Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said.
“At the same time, despite the downward shift this year, we see that the long-term trends continue and the number of immigrants to Israel, particularly from Western countries, remains high compared to the averages of the past 15 years,” Sharansky said, adding that numbers provide “evidence of the fact that Israel continues to draw Jews from around the world seeking to live lives of meaning and identity.”