Ukrainian Jewish immigrants arrive at Ben Gurion Airport, Feb. 20, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90) (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Ukrainian olim

“The new immigrants are a huge contribution to Israel and are a strengthening of national, social and economic resilience.”

By Pesach Benson, United With Israel

Despite a year of challenging COVID travel restrictions, 42,675 new olim have made Israel their home since last Independence Day. The numbers, released by the Jewish Agency on Sunday, shatter a 20-year record.

“Tens of thousands of new immigrants have immigrated in the last year at all ages and from almost every country around the world. New immigrants who will contribute to the diversity and cultural richness of Israeli society,” said Minister of Immigration and Absorption Pnina Tamano-Shata.

“The new immigrants are a huge contribution to Israel and are a strengthening of national, social and economic resilience,” she said.

Tamano-Shata came to Israel as a three-year-old girl with her family during the 1984 Operation Moses airlift.

Since last year’s Independence Day, more than half of Israel’s new olim came from Ukraine and Russia.

That was followed by the U.S. (4,000), France, Argentina and Belarus (1,000 each), Great Britain (700), South Africa (600), Brazil (500), Canada (400), and other olim coming from Australia, Germany, Belgium, Chile, Italy and other countries.

There are 18 countries which sent just one immigrant, including Macedonia, Malta, Madagascar and South Korea.

Government plans to airlift the final 7,000-12,000 Falash Mura from Ethiopia remain stalled and will reportedly resume soon according to an agreement the Ministry of Aliyah and Absorption and the Jewish Agency. The Interior Ministry does not recognize the Falash Mura community as Jewish.

According to the Jewish Agency, half of the olim are of working age. The oldest immigrant was a 102-year-old man from France.

Immigrants included 633 Holocaust survivors — mostly from Ukraine — and 488 “Lone Soldiers” who moved to Israel without their families.

Since Israel’s founding in 1948, 3,372,035 Jews have made aliyah.