TIMES OF ISRAEL
by Haviv Rettig Gur
September 9, 2014
The vast majority of the Jewish Diaspora is now prosperous, safe and English-speaking; such people won’t immigrate because Israeli bureaucrats tell them to.
Israel’s immigration officials are frustrated. Aliya, the immigration of Jews to Israel, is declining, and nobody quite knows what to do about it.
In 1990, at the height of the wave of immigration of post-Soviet Jews after the fall of the Iron Curtain, 199,516 immigrants came to Israel, equal to 43 new citizens for every 1,000 Israelis in just one year. By 2013, that figure had declined steadily to just 16,884 immigrants, or 2.1 new immigrants for every 1,000 Israelis.
It’s a steep drop, from the equivalent of four percent of Israel’s population arriving in a single year to just two-tenths of a percent a generation later. In 2011, a mere 16,893 immigrants arrived in Israel, while 16,200 Israelis left the country for a year or more, according to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. It may be fair to ask if the phenomenon of aliya as a normative Jewish experience, or as a phenomenon that could yet again make a noticeable mark on Israeli society, has come to an end……