The number of Israelis migrating to Britain outstripped the numbers making aliyah by three to two, according to an exhaustive study of the UK’s Israeli diaspora.
Based on statistics from the 2011 census, the Institute for Jewish policy Research suggests there were around 25,000 Israelis resident in this country – far lower than has previously been suggested.
The population has grown by 350 percent in the four decades since 1971 and four percent t annually after 2011, the report claimed. But it still represents just six percent of the Jewish community.
Dr Jonathan Boyd, JPR’s executive director, said: “Many people have attempted to estimate the size of the Israeli population over the years but the evidence in this report almost certainly constitutes the most reliable that exists.
“It is not perfect, but our estimates are based on solid demographic data that measure ‘Israeliness’ by a combination of country of birth, passports held, ethnicity, national identity and languages spoken, and takes into consideration any undercount that may exist in UK census data.”
While 16 percent identify as haredi, nine percent declare a religion other than Jewish and 16 percent are ‘reigious nones’ – people who may be Jewish by ancestry but don’t identify in the census as having a faith.
While “relatively few” belong to a shul, according to Boyd, “they are just as likely as British Jews to send their children to Jewish schools. Given that this is quite a young population – the majority aged between 25 and 45 and highly educated – Israelis could well represent an incredibly valuable pool of talent for the Jewish community if they become active in British Jewish life.”
Dr David Graham, the report’s author and senior research fellow at JPR, said marrying a Brit appears to be a key driver in the growth of the Israeli population: “Survey data suggests that only nine percent of Israeli-born Jews living in the UK have a partner who is also Israeli-born. In other words, a significant amount of international ‘mixing and matching’ may well be the key migratory driver, followed by an intricate mix of economic, security and lifestyle considerations, which together, are currently tipping the migration balance away from Israel and towards Britain.”