By SAM SOKOL, JPOST—
Immigration to Israel increased by 2 percent in 2013, with over 16,000 olim arriving, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced on Tuesday.
Of the 16,884 immigrants who arrived last year, 43% came from the former Soviet Union, primarily Russia and Ukraine, 17% came from France, 13% from the United States and 8% from Ethiopia.
At the end of March the Jewish Agency announced that French immigration has “risen sharply since the start of the year” with 854 French Jews having moved to Israel since the beginning of the year. This increase, an agency spokesman said, marks a 312% increase over the comparable period in 2013.
Last year there were 2.1 immigrants for every 1,000 Israelis, the CBS reported, as opposed to a ratio of 17 immigrants per 1,000 Israelis in the 1990s.
The bureau also found that of the 3.2 million olim that arrived in Israel since the establishment of the state 41% came since 1990.
The extent of immigration to Israel has been relatively low since the end of mass immigration from the FSU, the CBS said, citing an annual average of 16,700 newcomers.
During the immigration wave of the 1990s, following the breakup of the Soviet empire, approximately 88,300 immigrants arrived yearly.
Europeans formed the majority of immigrants in 2013, 64%, followed by American and Oceania, 21%, Africa, 9% and Asia, 6%.
While European immigration increased, combined immigration from America and Oceania remained stable, and immigration from Ethiopia saw a decline, the CBS reported.
The central district saw the highest number of immigrant settlement, with 3,391, or 20% of immigrants choosing the region for their first place of residence. Eighteen percent of immigrants settled in Jerusalem and 17% chose Tel Aviv.
The average age of immigrants to Israel was slightly higher in 2013 than in the previous year. There were more female immigrants than male.
Anti-Semitic incidents are now “an almost daily phenomenon,” European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said, adding that an increasing number of Jews are seeking an exit from Europe.
A third of Jews polled by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency last year said that they refrained from wearing religious garb or Jewish symbols out of fear and 23% avoided attending Jewish events or going to Jewish venues.
Almost a third were mulling emigration as a response to heightened anti-Jewish sentiment.