Terror wave isn't affecting immigration to Israel

New study finds aliyah from Europe unaffected by Israel’s security situation.

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Immigrants kiss the ground in Israel
Immigrants kiss the ground in Israel
Yossi Zeliger/Flash 90

Rising Jewish immigration to Israel from Western Europe remains largely unaffected by the security situation in the Jewish state, according to a new study.

The London-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research, or JPR, published its findings on Jewish immigration to Israel, or aliyah, on Friday in a report entitled "Are Jews Leaving Europe?" The report also neither confirmed nor refuted the assumption that anti-Semitism is behind the increase in aliyah from France, Belgium and Italy. The 30-page study, by researcher David Staetsky, did find a conclusive relationship between aliyah and unemployment and political stability.

"One immediately observes that times of high unemployment in the United Kingdom correspond to times of high migration of British Jews to Israel," the report said.

The report analyzes the effect of various factors - including unemployment, political stability, anti-Semitism and security – on aliyah from Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom since the establishment of the State of Israel.

The report found that Belgium, France and Italy are seeing an unprecedented increase in aliyah, while no increase is being observed in the remaining three countries. The prevalence of anti-Semitic incidents, including violent attacks, has increased dramatically in all six countries since the early 2000s, according to the study.

Aliyah from France, a country with 500,000 Jews that throughout the early 2000s gave Israel approximately 2,000 newcomers annually, increased dramatically during and after 2013, when more than 3,000 Jews came. The following year, over 5,000 came, followed by nearly 8,000 in 2015 and another 5,000 last year.

In both Britain and France, anti-Semitic incidents used to average several dozen annually but grew to several hundred each year after 2000. Many of the attacks are committed by persons of Muslim or Arab descent as payback for Israel’s actions in what some have termed "new anti-Semitism."

"Perhaps surprisingly," the report said, research did not reveal any "meaningful correlations between levels of migration to Israel and the security situation [in Israel]."

The research team's "initial hypothesis was that any deterioration of the security situation in Israel would deter potential migrants, whilst an improvement in the situation would make Israel more attractive." But this was not supported by efforts to correlate aliyah levels with the number of fatalities from terrorism and battle deaths in all military conflicts in which Israel was involved, the report said.

The report said that current aliyah levels from Western Europe "cannot meaningfully be termed an 'exodus,'" when compared to previous waves of Jewish immigration Israel, including from Arab countries and the former Soviet Union.