JERUSALEM (JTA) — Immigration to Israel reached a 10-year high in 2014.
Approximately 26,500 new immigrants arrived in Israel last year, according to figures released Wednesday by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption. The number marked a 32 percent increase in worldwide aliyah over the previous year, which saw about 20,000 new arrivals.
For the first time, according to the Jewish Agency, more immigrants came from France than from any other country. Nearly 7,000 French immigrants arrived in Israel in 2014, double the 3,400 who came in 2013.
Aliyah from Ukraine was up 190 percent over the previous year, with 5,840 new immigrants, compared to 2,020 in 2013. The increase is due primarily to ongoing instability in the eastern part of the country, according to the Jewish Agency.
Aliyah from Western Europe as a whole rose 88 percent to 8,640 new immigrants in 2014. In addition to the significant rise in arrivals from France, 620 immigrants came from the United Kingdom, 100 more than the previous year, and 340 came from Italty, roughly double the previous year’s figure.
Some 11,430 immigrants arrived from the former Soviet Union, an increase of 50 percent over last year, with most coming from Ukraine. Some 4,830 immigrants came from Russia, Belarus and the Baltic states.
Aliyah from Latin America remained stable, with the arrival of some 1,070 immigrants, similar to the previous year.
About 3,870 immigrants came from North America compared to some 3,600 last year. The number of arrivals from Eastern Europe dropped from 270 last year to 232, and 190 came from South Africa, the same as last year.
Some 200 immigrants came from Australia and New Zealand, compared to some 260 in 2013.
Tel Aviv received the highest number of new immigrants, followed by Haifa and Jerusalem.
More than half the immigrants who came to Israel in 2014 were under the age of 35. The oldest immigrant, from France, was 104.