The number of British Jews making aliyah dropped 16 percent after a particularly high rate of emigration last year, new figures from the Jewish Agency reveal.
Only 650 went to live in Israel in 2016, compared to 775 in 2015. The new figure more closely resembles the recent average, with 629 making Aliyah in 2014. There are now more Brazilian Jews making aliyah than British Jews.
The Agency said Israel had welcomed 27,000 new immigrants last year, including 7,000 from Russia, which now tops the list. The total is down from 31,000 in 2015, when more than 7,200 Ukrainians and 5,000 French Jews made aliyah.
Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky said the high numbers of immigrants over the past two years were “due, in part, to a series of external factors that have changed or disappeared, at least for the moment”.
He added that, despite this year’s fall in numbers, “long-term trends continue and the number of immigrants to Israel, particularly from Western countries, remains high compared to the averages of the past fifteen years”.
New arrivals disperse across the country, with 11 percent landing in Tel Aviv, 10 percent moving to Jerusalem, nine percent opting for Netanya, eight percent choosing Haifa and six percent making Ashdod their home. Other destinations include Bat Yam, Ra’anana, Rishon LeZion, Be’er Sheva and Ashkelon.