Ron Canter; Dec.23, 2022
Since January, Israel has received 70,000 new immigrants, the largest number of olim (new immigrants) since the end of the 20th century. Not surprisingly, due to the war in Ukraine, most of those making Aliyah were from Ukraine and Russia. In total, Jewish people from 95 countries came home to Israel in 2022, according to a report by the Jewish Agency published Thursday. While it is not a record-breaking annual number, the number of new arrivals in 2022 dramatically increased over the 28,600 in 2021 and the highest number in 23 years. Also, it represents a return to pre-pandemic Aliyah levels for most nations.
The influx from Ukraine was extraordinary. Within 24 hours of Vladimir Putin’s forces invading Ukraine, the Jewish Agency, Israel’s government, and global Jewish communities launched operations on the ground to receive Jewish refugees fleeing the war and those trying to get out.
The Jewish Agency reported distributing 290,000 meals to refugees in multiple centers. The Agency also provided those fleeing the conflict with medical care, warm beds, and activities for the children. Thousands of refugees, including hundreds of elderly Holocaust survivors fleeing for their lives a second time, were transported to Israel on rescue flights. In addition, the Agency provided emergency grants to Jewish communities in Ukraine and distributed 354 tons of personal equipment from Israel.
From January 1 to December 1 of this year, 37,364 people arrived from Russia and 14,680 from Ukraine. In addition, there were 3,500 olim from North America, 2,049 from France, 1,993 from Belarus (a neighboring country to the conflict in Ukraine), 1,498 additional olim from Ethiopia, 1,341 from South America (Argentina and Brazil), 526 from Britain, and 426 from South Africa.
About 19,000 new immigrants (27%) are 18-35 years old and young professionals in fields with a labor shortage in Israel—education, medicine, and engineering. Another 24% of the olim are children or teenagers. Only 13% were 65 or older.
“It was a dramatic year that emphasized the value of mutual responsibility among the Jewish people, during which the Jewish Agency helped strengthen the resilience of Jewish communities, empowered weaker populations in Israel, brought tens of thousands of olim, saved lives from all over Ukraine and brought them to a safe harbor in Israel,” said Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel, Doron Almog. “Aliyah is of existential importance to the State of Israel, both at the practical and moral levels.”