Aliyah from the republics of the former Soviet Union edged upward slightly in October, reaching a new monthly high for the year with 6,832 arrivals.
While this is an improvement over September’s figure of 6,725 arrivals, immigration is still way below what it was at this time during the last two years.
By comparison, 9,845 Jews arrived from the Soviet Union in October 1991 and 20,324 immigrated on October 1990, according to figures provided by the National Conference on Soviet Jewry in New York.
But aliyah is more than double what it was last May, when only 3,361 Jews arrived from the republics.
Immigration experts at the Jewish Agency and the Absorption Ministry attribute the higher rate of aliyah during the past six months to political and economic uncertainty in the republics. As long as this uncertainty persists, they say, Jews will continue to make aliyah. ..Immigration from the republics to the United States actually dropped last month from 3,406, down from a record high of 6,073 in September, according to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in New York.
But officials said September’s influx was abnormally large because the agency made a special effort to get as many Jews out as possible before the U.S. fiscal year ended Sept. 30.
In Israel, overall aliyah remained fairly steady, with 7,542 people immigrating in October, compared to 7,585 the month before.
Immigrant Absorption Minister Yair Tsaban told the Jewish Agency Assembly last week that 61,371 people have immigrated in 1992, among them 50,768 from the Soviet successor states. At this rate, he predicted, aliyah will climb to 120,000 in 1993.
“The greatest number of immigrants are coming from trouble spots in the former Soviet Union,” said Natasha Bechman, executive coordinator of the Soviet Jewry Zionist Forum.
“The Jews there are worried about political instability and the economic crisis. In some areas, the strife borders on civil war.” With the onset of winter, she added, “the things will only get worse.”
Arnon Mantver, director-general of the Jewish Agency’s Immigration and Absorption Department, believes that a more positive factor might be at work as well.
People who made aliyah more than 1### years ago are finally adjusting to life here,” he said. “We’ve learned from various surveys that people who arrived about 18 months ago are finding jobs and becoming integrated into Israeli society.” He added: “While I don’t open the letters that these olim send back to friends and family in the republics, I’m sure that this good news is having a positive effect on immigration.”