Immigration to Israel Increases for First Time in a Decade
For the first time in 10 years, the number of immigrants to Israel greatly increased. In 2009, 16,244 people immigrated to Israel, a 17 percent increase over 2008's 13,859 immigrants. Though the largest number of new immigrants still comes from the former Soviet Union, up 21 percent from 5,867 in 2008 to 7,120 in 2009, immigrants from English-speaking countries also increased by 17 percent in 2009.
Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky and Immigration and Absorption Minister Sofa Landver attribute the increase to the Jewish Agency's "Red Carpet" program. The program includes "aliyah fairs" for new arrivals during which they are assisted with their initial absorption, such as opening bank accounts, choosing health care providers, etc.