JERUSALEM (JTA) — Some 21,300 new immigrants have moved to Israel since last Rosh Hashana, an increase of 19 percent over last year, according to the Jewish Agency for Israel.
"The choice of thousands of Jews to build their homes here is the deepest expression of a Diaspora Jew’s identification with Israel," Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said.
North American aliyah reached about 4,070, up from 3,720 the year before, an increase of 9 percent.
About 8,290 immigrants arrived from the former Soviet Union, including from Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic states and Central Asian countries, an increase of 19 percent over last year. Immigration from France rose 4 percent to approximately 2,100 this year.
Some 2,780 immigrants from Ethiopia made aliyah in the waning Jewish year 5771, compared to about 1,320 the year before. The rate of immigration from Ethiopia is set by the government.
Over the past year, Israel has welcomed small numbers of olim from unexpected countries, including Hong Kong, Honduras, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Monaco, Suriname, China, the Philippines, Thailand, Angola, Japan, Malta, Congo, South Korea and Nicaragua.
The statistics also show that most of the immigrants are young: From January to July 2011, approximately 62 percent of the olim were younger than 34, of which about 36 percent are young adults from 18 to 34, according to the Jewish Agency.