Bucking a slump in Western immigration to Israel, the number of new arrivals from Russia has increased in 2017 and more than doubled from Turkey.
In total, the 23,415 immigrants who have come to Israel from January 1 to September 30 constituted a two percent increase over the corresponding period last year, an interim report by the Jewish Agency for Israel showed.
The eight percent rise in immigration from the former Soviet Union, representing 13,192 individuals, helped make up for an 11% decrease from the United States, which brought 2,282 immigrants to Israel. Among the FSU figures, 5,661 immigrants came from Russia, where sanctions and a financial crisis exacerbated by low oil prices have halved the value of the ruble against the dollar since 2014.
Ukraine, where the economy crashed following a revolution and territorial disputes with Russia after 2013, provided Israel with nearly 6,000 newcomers.
Immigration from France, which in 2015 was for the second year straight Israel’s largest source of immigrants with 7,328 newcomers, continued to plummet, registering a 26% drop this year to a total of 3,138 newcomers. France, which is seeing an economic improvement following several stagnant years, also has recorded a decrease in antisemitic incidents since 2015 that the government attributes to its security measures. Immigration from Britain also decreased by 16% to 459 newcomers.
Another noticeable increase came from Turkey, where many Jews are exploring immigration options amid political instability and allegations of state-tolerated anti-Semitism under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of the Islamist Justice and Development Party. This year, more than 350 Turkish Jews came, compared to 164 in the corresponding period last year.