Thursday, September 10, 2015

Europe: "We are witnessing the last generation of a significant European Jewish community", says Joël Rubinfeld

The Jerusalem Post reports:

It looks like 2015 will be another record year for aliya, with more than 30,000 newcomers to the Jewish state, Immigration and Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin announced on Wednesday.

Some 29,500 immigrants arrived here over the Hebrew past year, with more than 14,000 hailing from the former Soviet Union, according to statistics for 5775 released by the Immigration and Absorption Ministry and the Jewish Agency. This marks a 13 percent increase over 5774.

“These figures, which show a significant increase in the number of immigrants to Israel, reinforce the overall picture that the year 2015 will represent a year of record aliya for more than a decade. We estimate that, at this rate, by the end of the civil year we will reach between 30,000 and 35,000 immigrants,” said Elkin.  [...]

While around 3,600 immigrants came from North American, the largest sources of aliya were France (7,350) and Ukraine (6,900), increases of 10 percent and 50%, respectively.

French aliya has largely been driven by a high youth unemployment and rising anti-Semitism, while the Russian-backed civil war and concomitant economic decline in Ukraine have accounted for increasing emigration.  [...]

The trends enumerated in the new figures “reflect especially the worsening situation for Jews in several European countries, and the ability of the current Israeli economy to absorb in large part the new arrivals,” Hebrew University demographer Sergio DellaPergola told the Post.  [...]

Joël Rubinfeld, the founder of the Ligue Belge contre l’Antisémitisme in Brussels, said, “This is good news and bad news.

“Good news for Israel which sees its population growing and perfectly fills one of its mission: welcoming every Jew who is or feel threatened in his own country (notably Jews from Ukraine and other European countries). Bad news for Europe which sees its Jewish community decreasing due to the rise of anti-Semitism and the growing threat of Islamist terrorism. I personally fear that we are witnessing the last generation of a significant European Jewish community as, at age 18, more and more young European Jews are leaving their countries – mainly to Israel, USA, Canada – as they feel they have no more future here as a Jew.”

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