JERUSALEM (Aug. 2)
Immigration officials say they are “guardedly optimistic” following the release on Sunday of July’s aliyah statistics.
During July, the overall aliyah rate rose an impressive 36.6 percent over the June immigration figures, while aliyah from the former Soviet republics rose 25 percent.
In all, 6,575 immigrants arrived in Israel during July, including 4,872 from the Soviet successor states. Only 4,812 people immigrated in June, among them 3,898 from the republics.
While the July figures are encouraging, they are still 40.7 percent below the July 1991 statistics, when 11,101 immigrants arrived, including 10,325 from the former Soviet Union. Since the beginning of 1992, 39,884 people have made aliyah, compared to 105,611 during the same period last year.
In related news, the Israeli Embassy in Moscow issued 5,390 immigration visas last month, compared with 4,659 in June, and 3,720 in May.
About 1.2 million Jews in the former Soviet republics currently hold approved requests for family reunification, according to the Jewish Agency. Of these, some 62,000 hold exit visas from the local immigration authorities, while 34,000 have received Israeli immigration visas.
Commenting on last month’s rise in aliyah, Jewish Agency Chairman Simcha Dinitz said, “I am optimistic regarding future immigration to Israel, though it is premature to judge whether this month’s 25 percent increase in Soviet immigrants is the beginning of an upward trend.”