Aliyah numbers up 41 percent so far in 2015

Immigration to Israel under its Law of Return increased in the first quarter of 2015 by 41 percent over the corresponding period last year.

Approximately a third of the 6,499 newcomers were from Ukraine, and more than half were from the former Soviet Union, according to an interim report released recently by the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Jewish immigration, or aliyah, to Israel from Ukraine consisted of 1,971 individuals in the first quarter of 2015 compared with 625 in the first three months of 2014 — a 215 percent leap.

Ukraine’s economy has suffered huge losses and monetary depreciation as a result of a revolution that swept its former president, Viktor Yanukovych, from power and triggered an armed conflict with Russian-backed insurgents, with devastating effects to the country’s industrial heart in the east.

Aliyah from Russia also increased significantly, from 1,016 to 1,515. Plummeting oil prices have triggered a financial crisis exacerbated by Western sanctions over the government’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula last year.

In January through March this year, 1,271 French olim, or Jewish immigrants, arrived in Israel compared with 1,413 in 2014. France in 2014 was for the first time Israel’s largest source of olim, partly due to rising levels of anti-Semitic violence and a stagnant economy.

Aliyah from North America decreased by 7 percent to 478 new arrivals this year, while British aliyah rose by 43 percent to a total of 166 olim in 2015. — jta

JTA

Content distributed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service.