French Olim 224.88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Jewish immigration into Israel dropped 6% in 2007, reaching a 20-year low of just under 19,700 immigrants, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption announced Monday.
The best years for aliya were just after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Over 400,000 Jews arrived in Israel between 1989 and 1991. Since then the immigration rates have been dropping steadily, a trend aggravated by the outburst of the Second Intifada: 60,000 immigrants arrived into Israel in 2000, but only 35,000 arrived in 2002.
The most significant drop this year was in immigration from the former Soviet Union, with 15% fewer arriving in Israel than in 2006.
Jerusalem was hailed by the ministry as the leader in immigrant absorption, with over 14% of immigrants deciding to settle there. This year Israel also boasts its eldest immigrant since 2005 - a 99-year-old woman who immigrated from England in May. Another famed elderly newcomer is
Mimi Reinhardt, formerly a secretary to Oskar Schindler, who arrived in Israel at the age of 92.
Minister of Immigration Absorption Ya'acov Edri said that the decline in Jewish immigration "should be a wakeup call."
"We should do everything we can to increase the rate of aliya," Edri said. "The ministry intends to invest great resources to that end in the coming years. Aliya is the single greatest Zionist enterprise in our sixty years of statehood."