Tax reforms, Jewish Agency drive contributing to rise in UK aliya

According to figures released last week, 201 people moved to Israel from the UK between January and April, a 53% increase from last year.

By JONNY PAUL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT IN LONDON
June 10, 2009 21:54
1 minute read.
english olim oleh 88

english uk olim 88. (photo credit: )

 
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The Jewish Agency is predicting that 2009 will be a historic year for aliya from Britain, with the number set to increase to 800 new immigrants, the most since 1984. According to figures released last week, 201 people moved to Israel from the UK between January and April, a 53 percent increase from last year. March has been the best month so far, with 81 British immigrants coming to Israel - four times the number in March 2008. Rafi Nassi, director of the Jewish Agency for Israel in the UK, attributes the increase to two main factors: tax reform in Israel, and a change in the way the Jewish Agency works in the UK. Tax reforms enacted in Israel last year grant new immigrants a host of benefits, such as an exemption on income from abroad for 10 years. In addition, since the UK is considered much more important as a leading place for aliya from the West, the Jewish Agency now invests more energy in the UK. As such, the Jewish Agency in London is much more visible and active. Nassi has spearheaded a campaign with the slogan "Aliya... Find your way Home" to increase the viability of the option and awareness of the role of the Jewish Agency. "More people are thinking of the option; many want to move. All they need is a bit of push. We want to remind people that aliya is a serious option, and we will help find a way," Nassi said. The campaign includes advertisements in the Jewish press and is much more activity-based. There is an array of events, such as aliya workshops across the country. Entitled "Israel Unplugged," the campaign looks at issues such as the financial implications of moving to Israel, tax incentives and benefits for people making aliya. Nassi also recognizes the importance of utilizing technology. Video sharing Web site YouTube and social networking site Facebook are central to his campaign, as he is conscious of target groups and is focusing more on young people and students.

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