While Arab terror attacks in Israel mount, Aliyah from America continues to increase sharply. Many Americans considering immigration feel that Israel is actually safer than many American cities.
The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption (MAIA) recently reported that the number of Jewish immigrants (olim) to Israel rose sharply during 2014, marking a 28% increase over the previous year. Indeed, 2014 witnessed a five-year high with certain European countries providing the most dramatic increases, as anti-Semitic acts exploded across Europe.
Aliyah Applications Pour In
In spite of the sharp increase in terror attacks in the last quarter of this year, including the murder of four Anglo Rabbis in Jerusalem, Aliyah from America has sharply increased. In fact, many Americans who are considering Aliyah say that they still feel that Israel is safer than many cities in the United States.
Arutz Sheva recently reported on the “Impact Israel” conferences in New York and Los Angeles in November, sponsored by the Aliyah organization Nefesh B’Nefesh in conjunction with MAIA, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA. The Impact Israel conferences were a new take on more traditional Aliyah fairs.
Marc Rosenberg, Pre-Aliyah Director at Nefesh B’Nefesh, explained, “As part of our efforts to assist these future Olim, we thought it would be very beneficial for those contemplating the move to meet and hear from six former Olim from an array of professional and social backgrounds who can present firsthand how they too can make an impact on Israel.” For many young adults, life in Israel presents more opportunities to impact the world.
According to Yekutiel, one of the participants, “Everything here in the States is going down, and everything in Israel is going up.”
Nefesh B’Befesh explains that not only have Aliyah applications increased in general, the numbers for the month of November this year doubled last year’s numbers. It appears that Aliyah numbers show no indication of slowing down any time soon.
The intensity of anti-Semitism in European countries, especially France and portions of the former Soviet Union, means that the current immigration boom includes a much higher percentage of professional and wealthy immigrants – people who previously had little incentive to leave Europe.
Making Aliyah a Little Easier
In response to this new dynamic, the Prime Minister of Israel has proposed several changes in the law to make it easier for professional olim to transfer their businesses to Israel and build a new life.
“As a first step, we decided today that by January 1 we will demand that all government ministries simplify, cut and shorten procedures” to allow French Jews in particular to gain approval for a range of credentials already earned in fields, professions, degrees and diplomas, Netanyahu said.
While the immediate goal of these efforts is to target French immigrants, Netanyahu wants to implement these steps for all new olim as quickly as possible. Regardless of new incentives, many future immigrants are determined to join their people in Israel, their true home.
Tell us in the comments below: What do YOU think about the increases in Jewish immigration to Israel
Author: Penina Taylor, United with Israel