Jewish immigration to Israel registered a two-percent drop last year, a trend bucked by new arrivals from Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Overall, Jewish immigration to Israel stood at 18,691 in 2012 compared to 19,289 in 2011, according to an annual analysis by the Jewish Agency for Israel of figures for aliyah, or Jewish immigration to Israel. Of those, 2,432 came from Ethiopia – a 16 percent drop in immigration from that country compared to 2011.
Jewish immigration from North America shrunk for the second straight year in 2012, from 3,512 in 2011 to 3,389 last year – a four percent decrease. Immigration from the United Kingdom meanwhile rose by 23 percent, from 560 new arrivals in 2011 to 698 last year. In total, Jewish immigration from Western Europe brought 3,243 new arrivals to Israel in 2012, an increase of six percent from the previous year.
Immigration from the former Soviet Union remained steady with 7,755 new arrivals in 2012. The previous year saw 7,786 people arriving from that part of the world.
Immigration from France registered only a one-percent increase last year with 1,907 new arrivals, despite what leaders of the French Jewish community described as “an explosion of anti-Semitic incidents” occurring in France in 2012.
Richard Prasquier, president of the CRIF umbrella organization of French Jewish communities, is quoted as saying last month that "There is some Jewish emigration taking place, of which only a minority is leaving for Israel."
Jewish immigration from Italy and from the Iberian Peninsula increased in 2012 by 50 percent and 30 percent respectively, to 160 from Italy, and 93 from Spain and Portugal, but immigration from the Benelux area - Belgium and the Netherlands - dropped by 26 percent, from 274 new arrivals in 2011 to 209 last year.
Immigration from Latin America and from South Africa both registered a 16 percent drop, resulting in 925 and 173 new arrivals, respectively.