North American immigration to Israel rose 7 percent in 2014

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Immigration to Israel from North America rose 7 percent in 2014 over the previous year to 3,762 olim from the United States and Canada, according to Nefesh B’Nefesh.

The immigrants came on 17 special aliyah flights from North America, sponsored by facilitated by Nefesh B’Nefesh in partnership with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, and JNF-USA.

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The flights included 296 families with 813 children under the age of 18 and 1,703 singles. The immigrants came mostly from New York, New Jersey, Florida, California, Illinois, Maryland and Pennsylvania in the United States, and from Quebec and Ontario in Canada.

Aliyah from Britain rose 6 percent to 525 olim in 2014, with 49 families, 97 children and 183 singles, most from London and Manchester.

In 2014, the number of lone soldiers, young people who make aliyah without their immediate family, rose by 10 percent over the previous year, to 350. There are currently about 3,000 lone soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

Summer is traditionally the peak time for aliyah.  Erez Halfon, vice chairman of Nefesh B’Nefesh, noted in a statement that olim continued to come during the summer, despite Israel’s 50-day operation in Gaza operation and the hundreds of rockets that rained down on southern and central Israel.

“Despite the events that transpired during the traditional summer peak period for Aliyah, we saw that immigration to Israel grew significantly from North America and the U.K.,” Halfon said. “These olim, including hundreds of soldiers, left behind careers, families, and communities, and their sacrifice and courage was widely acknowledged by the Israeli public.”