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U.S. Prime Source of Immigrants to Israel; France Ranks Second

Official records released here recently indicated that the United States has become the prime source of immigration to Israel. In the first nine months of 1970, 6,129 Americans settled in Israel, accounting for more than 20 percent of the immigrants who arrived this year. The 3,729 Jews who emigrated from France, ranked her second in the list of nations sending persons to Israel. Immigration from the United States has been on the increase since the Six-Day War. Following the War of Independence in 1948 up until 1967 only a little more than 1 percent of the immigrants, an annual influx of 600 to 1,200, came from the United States and approximately half left Israel later. The figure rose to 2,094 in 1967 and to 4,617 in 1968. In 1969, figures indicated a rise to 6,020. Most of these statistics were provided by the Jewish Agency. Retired persons comprised a large percentage of Americans emigrating here prior to the Six-Day War, while the number of highly educated and skilled people in their prime was at a minimum. Now the average age is 34, and 38 percent are professionals or highly skilled workers; the average in Israeli society is 13 percent. The Six-Day War created a new awareness and consciousness of Jewish tradition and culture amongst Americans who had never been formally affiliated with the Zionist movement of Jewish groups in this country.

Their identification with Israel was stimulated largely by their great concern when the Arabs threatened to annihilate the state in 1967 and by their elation over the Jewish victory, according to the report. This love and pride of Israel has been coupled with some disillusionment with the U.S. “If immigration increases,” a new arrival said, “you’ll have to thank the Black Panthers and the other Jew-haters who are making life in America hell.” The continuing Arab-Israeli war has not discouraged Americans from settling. “In America our borders are safe but our cities aren’t,” another said. “Here it’s just the other way around. You don’t know how great it is to walk through the streets of Tel Aviv late at night without fear.” The report noted that many of the professionals who have come to Israel are academicians weary of campus unrest. Prior to the Six-Day War. according to the report, many American immigrants returned to their country after failing to obtain suitable jobs and adjust to the standard of living, lower than that of the U.S. Conditions are far better now. There has been a boom and full employment since the Six-Day War. According to Jewish Agency estimates, 5 to 6 percent of the post-1967 immigrants have gone back to the United States.

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