British migrants to Israel stay clear of settlements

By Simon Rocker, September 30, 2013
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New immigrants arriving to Israel from North America with Nefesh B'Nefesh

New immigrants arriving to Israel from North America with Nefesh B'Nefesh

British immigrants to Israel are far less likely to settle in the West Bank than American Jews, according to a new report on aliyah from the UK published today.

Whereas just five per cent of British olim have opted to live in Judea and Samaria, the American rate is 18 per cent.

The report, produced by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, also found that there are more British-born Jews living in Israel than there are people born in Israel who have made their home in the UK.

There were 21,050 UK-born Jews in Israel in 2008, compared with 17,778 native Israelis who have settled here (according to the last UK Census in 2011).

“In the population exchange between the United Kingdom and Israel, Israel is so far ‘winning’”, the report says.

British Jewry has contributed the second highest number of immigrants from the English-speaking diaspora after the US. After hitting a low of 300 immigrants in 2002, UK aliyah has risen to an average of 500 a year during the 2000s, with an estimated 80 a year returning to the UK.

British immigrants are “relatively young” with a median age of 25-28 and they are more educated than other olim.

JPR executive director Jonathan Boyd, who co-wrote the study, said: "On average, over the past twenty years, fewer than two British Jews in every 1,000 have made aliyah each year. Intuitively, that feels very low, but contrasted with aliyah rates from other English-speaking countries, this figure is quite high."

But he and his co-authors say that more research is needed to understand the factors behind UK aliyah.

“If, indeed, we see an increase in the migration of Jews from Britain to Israel in future years, we should not instantly assume that this is driven by a reactioin to antisemitism or anti-Israel sentiment, or by the success of Zionist education,” they caution.

Last updated: 5:12pm, October 1 2013