(JTA) — Jewish immigration from France to Israel has increased by 49 percent in the first nine months of 2013 compared to last year.
Through September, 2,185 French Jews have immigrated to Israel, compared to 1,469 immigrants during the same time frame in 2012, according to Jewish Agency for Israel figures. The number of immigrants who arrived from France to Israel during the whole of 2012 was 1,907.
On average, Jewish immigration to Israel from the rest of the world under the Law of Return showed an increase of 1 percent during the first nine months of 2013. In total, 13,905 people immigrated, or made aliyah, this year, according to the Jewish Agency.
But Jewish immigration from North America has dropped by 8 percent, to 2,524 new arrivals in 2013 from the 2,737 who came in January-September 2012.
September brought 148 French Jewish immigrants to Israel, compared to 90 who came in September 2012.
“September numbers are usually predictive of the total numbers for the year,” said Howard Flower, director of aliyah for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, a aliyah partner of the Jewish Agency.
Of the immigrants to Israel this year, 3,188 Jews arrived from Western Europe — a 26 percent increase from the same period last year.
On Nov. 8, the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency released results of a survey among 5,847 self-identified Jews from nine European countries in which approximately a third said they had considered emigrating in recent years because they did “not feel safe” living in their countries as Jews.
The figure for Jews contemplating emigration was particularly high in Hungary, France and Belgium, with 48, 46 and 40 percent respectively saying they had considered leaving.
Experts on the French Jewish community have said that many French Jews either have considered emigrating or emigrated for financial reasons since the 2008 financial crisis, as well as the increase in anti-Semitic violence since 2009 and after the second intifada in the early 2000s.