(JTA) — Jewish immigration to Israel fell 2 percent last year, a trend that was bucked by new arrivals from Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Overall, Jewish immigration to Israel stood at 18,691in 2012 compared to 19,135 in 2011, according to an annual analysis by the Jewish Agency for Israel of figures for aliyah, or Jewish immigration to Israel, obtained by JTA on Jan. 21.
Of the newcomers, 2,432 came from Ethiopia — a 9 percent drop in immigration from that country compared to 2011.
Jewish immigration from North America shrunk for the second straight year, to 3,389 last year from 3,512 in 2011 — a 4 percent decrease. Immigration from the United Kingdom meanwhile rose by 23 percent, to 698 new arrivals from 560 in 2011.
In total, Jewish immigration from Western Europe brought 3,243 new arrivals to Israel in 2012, an increase of 6 percent from the previous year.
Immigration from the former Soviet Union remained steady with 7,755 new arrivals in 2012, a slight dip from the 7,786 a year before.
Immigration from France registered a 1 percent increase last year with 1,907 new arrivals, despite what leaders of the French Jewish community described as “an explosion of anti-Semitic incidents” occurring in France in 2012.
Richard Prasquier, president of the CRIF umbrella organization of French Jewish communities, is quoted as saying last month, "There is some Jewish emigration taking place, of which only a minority is leaving for Israel."
Jewish immigration from Italy and the Iberian Peninsula increased in 2012 by 50 percent and 30 percent, respectively, to 160 from Italy and 93 from Spain and Portugal, but immigration from the Benelux area — Belgium and the Netherlands — dropped by 26 percent, to 209 new arrivals last year from 274 in 2011.
Immigration from Latin America and South Africa both registered a 16 percent drop, resulting in 925 and 173 new arrivals, respectively.