UK defies Euro rush to make aliyah

By Daniel Easterman, June 26, 2014

The UK is continuing to defy the wider trends affecting aliyah across Europe and has maintained a constant level compared with last year.

One hundred and seventy one people made aliyah from January to May, compared with 179 in the same period last year.

By contrast, in France the number rose from 580 to 2,254, an increase of 289 per cent.

In the Ukraine, there was a 132 per cent increase.

Shai Felber, the deputy director general for community services at the Jewish Agency for Israel, said the main factors were antisemitism, the success of the far right at the ballot box and continued economic stagnation.

"We did a survey recently and many people are telling us that they feel there is no future for Jews in Europe," he said.

"It is not about experiencing antisemitism every day in the street but the feeling that Europe is starting to change for the worse."

Mr Felber said that, despite the better political and economic conditions in the UK, aliyah numbers had remained stable.

"For years, the UK has put a big emphasis on gap-year programmes and tours to Israel with youth movements as a way of building Jewish identity," he said.

"Even those who don't make aliyah will hopefully take leadership roles in community organisations. In that respect, I think the UK is unique."

Last updated: 12:23pm, June 26 2014