Almost 1 million Israelis left the state to live in the US, Britain, Australia and Germany in 2011. The figure was revealed by researcher Michel Sharon, who added that they end up having a prosperous life in their new countries.
The details of Israel’s migration statistics were given in a television programme on Israeli Channel 2. Migrants to Canada told the programme that life there is “more peaceful” than in Israel. Around 2,500 Israelis migrate to Canada every year; one of the reasons given is that there is no talk of death and destruction there. This is causing the Israeli government some concern.
According to Israeli newspaper Maariv, the state is losing out on the migration stakes. The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics said that the number of migrants to Israel in 2010 was 18,129, the lowest since 1988.
Maariv also reported that 70 per cent of American Jews have not been to Israel and do not even intend to visit the country which is given vast amounts of tax dollars by the US government. More than 50 per cent of those Jews are married to non-Jews and 50 per cent do not care if Israel ceases to exist. For this reason, Israel’s government is preparing an initiative which aims to reinforce the relationship of Jews around the world with Israel.
Of the 87 per cent of Jewish youth from the countries of the former Soviet Union who want to migrate, only 36 per cent would be willing to go to Israel, claimed Maariv. The newspaper said that Jews from Eastern Europe are no longer regarded as potential immigrants by the Israeli government “in reserve” to counter the demographic reality of a growing Palestinian population. US Jews are not expected to fill the migration gap.
Thousands of migrants from the former Soviet Union left Israel and returned to their countries of origin either because they are really Christians and went to Israel simply to benefit from government inducements, or because of the better economic situation at home. Jewish organisations in the former Soviet empire have been working hard to keep their fellow Jews in their countries, claimed Maariv, while the situation in Israel is still very unstable.
Commenting on this, Israeli geographer Arnon Sofer said, “The future of Jewish Galilee [sic] is uncertain as the number of Jews decreases, while the number of Arabs is increasing.” The specialist in water issues and demography at the University of Haifa said that the number of Arabs in Galilee stands at 640,000 whereas there are only 570,000 Jews. He suggested the need for a government-funded Jewish migration project to change the demography of the region in favour of the Jews.