In a ceremony marking the seventh night of the Jewish Hannuka holiday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lit a menorah in Jerusalem with a group of immigrants who had arrived in Israel over the past year.
Welcoming the new 'olim,' the premier congratulated their decision to move to the Jewish state and expressed hope that "many would follow in your footsteps."
Netanyahu said Israel was experiencing the highest levels of immigration this year "in over a decade" and attributed two reasons for the influx. One reason more people were making aliya was the "surge in anti-Semitism," around the world but also in Europe, which Netanyahu said was directly linked to "rising Islamization."
Jews understand that Israel is the safe homeland of the Jewish people, Netanyahu said, before noting the "other reason for increased aliya" – which was that Israel "is a great country to live in."
"We have heard today that unemployment rates are down and are among the lowest in Western nations," Netanyahu concluded.