French olim arrive at Ben-Gurion Airport, July 10, 2017..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Aliyah by French Jews fell by more than 23 percent in 2018 over the previous year’s figures, despite the importance that has been attached to encouraging immigration of the country’s Jews to Israel.
A spike in aliyah from France in 2014 and 2015 due to antisemitism and terror attacks gave rise to hopes that tens of thousands more French Jews would emigrate to the Jewish state, but the numbers quickly tailed off with criticism levelled at the government for failing to provide enough support for such immigrants.
Last December, then Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett introduced a plan to bring 200,000 French Jews to Israel, but development and implementation of the plan has stalled due to the elections.
According to figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday, 2,415 French Jews made aliyah in 2018 compared to 3,157 in 2017, a decline of 23.5 percent
Even 2017’s figures represented a sharp decline of some 25 percent from the 2016 numbers, demonstrating a precipitous fall in the number of French Jews making aliyah over the last two years.
There was however an overall rise in aliyah by 6.6%. There was a 47 percent spike in aliyah from Russia, representing the majority of the overall increase in aliyah numbers over 2017.
In total 67 percent of immigrants in 2018 came from the former Soviet Union, nine percent from the US, and 8.7 percent from France.
Aliyah from the UK rose more than 5 percent over 2017. The UK Jewish community has been roiled by the ongoing revelations of antisemitism amidst the UK Labour Party and allegations of antisemitism against party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is well known for his hostility to Israel.
It has been thought that aliyah from the UK may increase because of Corbyn and the possibility he may become prime minister, although any link between the Labour antisemitism crisis and aliyah numbers seems highly tendentious since aliyah in 2017 fell by 25 percent, while Corbyn has headed Labour since 2015.
Aliyah spiked amongst Argentinian Jews, where there was an increase of over 16 percent, possibly linked to the currently difficult economic circumstances in the country.
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