Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics has released end-of-year data for 5775 which shows that aliyah (immigration) to Israel rose by 13% over the previous Hebrew year. The release, which came one week before the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana), sets Israel’s total population at 8,412,000. The population has increased by 1.9 percent, or 158,000 people, since last year.
According to the report, 29,500 people made aliyah (immigrated) to the country in the Hebrew year of 5775, which began on September 24, 2014 and will end on Sunday night, September 13, when Rosh Hashana begins. The number rose substantially from the previous year, in which 26,000 people immigrated to Israel.
This year’s group of immigrants, hailing from 97 different nations across the world, includes large representations from Ukraine, France, Russia, and North America. The North American contingent made up approximately 9 percent of the total immigrants over the year. In total, the number of new immigrants constitutes a 13 percent rise in immigration to the country over the previous Jewish year of 5774.
In the summer alone, 8,350 immigrants made aliyah, representing a 17 percent increase over last summer.
Immigrants came to Israel from all over the world, including such nations as Andorra, Angola, Namibia, Paraguay, the Philippines, and Slovakia, each of which were represented by a single immigrant to the country.
Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel Natan Sharansky said in a statement, “For the past few years, the majority of immigrants to Israel have been coming from free and democratic Western countries. These immigrants’ free choice to live in Israel, and their preference for Israel over other countries, is the true triumph of Zionism.”
Minister of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption Ze’ev Elkin added, “These figures, which show a significant increase in the number of immigrants to Israel, reinforce the overall picture that the year 2015 will represent a year of record Aliyah for more than a decade.”
He went on to say that Israel anticipates the total number will rise by the end of the Gregorian calendar year in December. “We estimate that, at this rate, by the end of the civil year we will reach between 30,000 and 35,000 immigrants. This is a window of opportunity that the State of Israel cannot miss.”
He called for Israel to meet the challenge of receiving new immigrants, saying, “We at the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the government, and Israeli society in general are faced with a fascinating and compelling challenge, to both ensure that immigrants who arrive in Israel are well integrated and [to] do whatever we can to increase activities to encourage aliyah.”
The Jewish population in the country totals approximately 6.3 million people, making up 74.9 percent of the country’s population, while the Muslim population tallies in at 1.7 million, or 20.7 percent. Another 366,000 people, or 4.4 percent, is made up of non-Arab Christians and citizens who do not have their religions registered with the civil registry.
Anticipating a continuing rise in immigration, the Central Bureau of Statistics estimates that Israel’s total population will surpass 10 million sometime between 2025 and 2030.