Old City Jerusalem
Old City JerusalemiStock

The total number of immigrants (olim) to Israel living in Jerusalem within 10 years of their arrival in Israel currently stands at 23,122.

This number, revealed at a special meeting convened by the Knesset's Immigration and Absorption Committee, includes 6,764 immigrants from the US, 6,169 immigrants from France, and 3,618 immigrants from the Former Soviet Union.

According to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, "One of the city's challenges is to remain attractive to young people and immigrants."

"Today, the city absorbs the highest number and percentage of immigrants. In the past five years (2012-2017), 20,547 immigrants arrived in Jerusalem and 6,735 left. Their contribution to the city is huge - 13,812 people - representing a quarter of the city's natural growth. Our upcoming challenges include expanding the Etzion Ulpan to be a magnet for young immigrants, creating absorption facilities for immigrants to live in, and turning the city into one which receives preferential treatment from the government."

Committee Chairman MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) asked why government policies to help Ethiopian immigrants are not implemented in Jerusalem. He called on the Absorption Ministry to help immigrants in Israel find employment, increase after-school activities for immigrant youth, and increase its budget for Jerusalem, since it absorbs the largest number of immigrants in Israel. He also called to speed up the construction of a synagogue for Ethiopian immigrants in Jerusalem's Ir Ganim neighborhood.

Gil Rivush, who runs Jerusalem's Absorption Administration, said, "We are always working to identify and map out problems in the areas of education, welfare, employment, innovation, and culture, and we push the municipality's departments to take care of these."

Absorption Authority Director Pinny Galinkovich noted that most immigrants who speak English, Spanish, and Portuguese come to Jerusalem, and most immigrants are young. He also spoke about the various aid programs offered by the city, including cultural programs, educational programs, housing, employment, and post-immigration counseling.

Elmiyahu Maspin, who heads the Department for Absorption of Ethiopian Immigrants, said his department works with 7,000 Ethiopian immigrants who need help with employment, welfare, and education, and that there are twenty government plans which aid Ethiopian immigrants to Jerusalem.