Figures released today by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption show a major increase in immigration to Israel from Europe this year. (In total nearly 26,500 people made aliyah, or immigrated to Israel, in 2014—a 32 percent increase from 2013 figures.) Aliyah rates from Western Europe alone were up 88 percent since last year—with roughly 8,640 immigrants as compared to last year’s 4,600—likely due to the climate of heightened anti-Semitism across Europe fueled by this summer’s Israel operation in Gaza.
France has the dubious distinction of being the country from which the most people made aliyah in 2014. Nearly 7,000 French Jews immigrated to Israel this year, double last year’s figure of 3,400. Tensions in France contributed to those high numbers—400 French Jews arrived in Israel in July alone, after a wave of incidents in which Jewish teens were targeted with Taser, tear gas, and pepper spray.
Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.