More than 20,000 people immigrated to Israel in 2020 despite the pandemic, says Jewish Agency

Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog with a group of immigrant children, on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020. Photo courtesy of David Salem.

By Yori Yalon

 Global pandemic notwithstanding, more than 20,000 Jews from 70 countries made aliyah over the course of 2020, the Jewish Agency reported this week.

Most of the immigrants arrived from Russia, Ukraine, the United States and France, according to the agency. As of the end of November, 10,200 new olim had arrived from the former Soviet Union. Another 3,120 immigrants arrived from western Europe, including 2,220 from France, while some 2,850 arrived from North America, 2,550 of them from the United States.

Not only did immigrants continue to arrive throughout the year, but interest in aliyah spiked as COVID-19 wreaked its havoc on economies and families. The Jewish Agency’s situation room fielded some 160,000 inquiries about aliyah, and opened 41,000 new files for potential arrivals.

“A wonderful thing happened to us—20,000 Jews immigrated to the State of Israel during this pandemic year. 20,000 people who were ready to leave everything behind, in a challenging period of global turmoil, to come build a new life in Israel,” said Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog on Sunday.