Immigration to Israel is up 31 percent so far this year, according to data released by Israel’s Aliyah and Integration Ministry and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

The data, released ahead of Yom HaAliyah (“Aliyah Day”), which falls on Oct. 13, shows that 20,360 people immigrated to Israel so far this year, compared to 15,598 during the corresponding period last year.

Russians made up the largest portion of this year’s immigrants at 5,075 (a 5 percent drop from last year), according to the data, while 3,104 came from the United States (a 41 percent increase over the first nine months of 2020). Immigration from France saw a 20 percent increase at 2,819 olim, while Ukraine saw a 4 percent increase with 2,123. Also registering increases were Belarus (780, 69 percent), Argentina (633, 46 percent), the United Kingdom (490, 20 percent,) Brazil (438, 4 percent) and South Africa (373, 56 percent).

Finally, there were 1,589 olim from Ethiopia, compared with 285 immigrants the previous year, thanks to “Operation Tzur Israel,” led by the ministry and the J.A., according to a statement by the JA.

More than half of this year’s olim are under age 35, with about 23.4 percent falling in the 0-17 age group, 33.4 percent being between 18-35, 16.3 percent between ages 36-50, 13 percent between 51-64 and 13.9 percent over 65.

Most of the olim are employed in the service and commerce industries, while 5.2 percent work in technology and engineering and 4.2 percent work in the medical field, according to the data.

The new immigrants’ preferred destination this year has been Jerusalem, which is currently home to 2,184 of the olim. Tel Aviv is a close second at 2,122, while Netanya is home to 2,031, Haifa to 1,410 and 744 to Ashdod. Ra’anana, Beit Shemesh, Nahariya, Beersheva and Bat Yam have all absorbed 600 to 700 immigrants.

Yom HaAliyah, established by the Knesset in 2016, is celebrated on the seventh day of the Jewish month of Cheshvan and coincides with the Torah portion of Lech Lecha, in which God commands Abraham to go to the land of Israel. The aim of the holiday is to celebrate the development of Israel as a multicultural society and emphasize the importance of aliyah to Israel, according to the J.A.

Several events will be held in Israel throughout the week to celebrate the contributions of olim to the country.

Jewish Agency acting chairman of the executive Yaakov Hagoel remarked, “I’m moved by each and every aliyah flight. Despite the challenging period and many limitations brought on by the global pandemic, since the beginning of the year, there’s been a significant increase in olim in comparison to a similar period last year. Olim from across the globe chose to come and build their future in Israel. These olim are a strategic asset to the State of Israel and contribute to every aspect of life. We all must contribute to their integration. We are strengthened by each oleh who comes to Israel.”

To date, more than 3,340,000 immigrants have made aliyah since the state’s establishment.

JNS

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