Global pandemic notwithstanding, more than 20,000 Jews from 70 countries made aliyah over the course of 2020, reported the Jewish Agency.

Most of the immigrants arrived from Russia, Ukraine, the United States and France, according to the agency.

As of the end of November, 10,200 new olim had arrived from the former Soviet Union. Another 3,120 immigrants arrived from western Europe, including 2,220 from France, while some 2,850 arrived from North America, 2,550 of them from the United States.

Not only did immigrants continue to arrive throughout the year, but interest spiked as COVID-19 wreaked its havoc on economies and families. The Jewish Agency’s situation room fielded some 160,000 inquiries about aliyah and opened 41,000 new files for potential arrivals.

“A wonderful thing happened to us—20,000 Jews immigrated to the State of Israel during this pandemic year; 20,000 people who were ready to leave everything behind, in a challenging period of global turmoil, to come build a new life in Israel,” said Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog on Sunday.

This is an edited version of an article that first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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