Huge surge in aliyah applications since the war began

France has seen a 300% increase in Jews wanting to move to Israel


Minister of Aliyah and Integration Ofir Sofer (second from right) with new Israelis at Ben-Gurion Airport. Photo: Courtesy.

(JNS) Israel is expecting a big wave of immigration in the wake of the war against Hamas, fuelled by solidarity with the Jewish state as well as global antisemitism, the minister of aliyah and integration said on Wednesday.

Some 6,500 people have immigrated to Israel since the October 7 massacre, while there has been large increase in aliyah applicants from Western countries including France, Canada the U.S. and the U.K.

“There are those who sought to uproot us from our land and they will see aliyah,” Minister of Aliyah and Integration Ofir Sofer told JNS in an interview. “At the end of the day, Israel is the national homeland of the Jewish people.”

The minister opined that a nearly unprecedented feeling of solidarity with the State of Israel since the start of the war, which has seen Israelis more united than they have been for decades, was an even greater impetus than antisemitism abroad for the wave of immigration.

“The new immigrants see the togetherness and a common destiny,” Sofer said. “This immense solidarity is something that we have to maintain and strengthen for the future generations.”

After a year of intense polarization in Israeli society over the government's judicial reform program, the surprise Hamas attack united Israel and the Jewish people worldwide in ways not seen since earlier wars more than half a century ago, he said, including the 1967 Six-Day War, which also saw a post-war burst of aliyah.

“This solidarity is a significant part of our victory for a stronger unified Israel,” Sofer said.

“It is our solemn duty to strengthen this after this difficult and challenging period. This is the absolute minimum we can do after what has happened here,” he told JNS on Wednesday.

Minister of Aliyah and Integration Ofir Sofer (standing at center) at Ben-Gurion Airport with new immigrants who arrived from the U.S. and will enlist in the IDF. Photo: Courtesy.

Since the start of the war, there has been a 300 per cent increase in aliyah applications from France, a 150 per cent jump from Canada, 100 per cent rise from the US and 40 per cent increase from the UK.

Among the more than 6,000 new olim since the outbreak of the war are young people who came to serve in the IDF, and parents of slain soldiers.

The Aliyah Ministry on Wednesday launched a plan aimed at facilitating their integration. The 170 million shekel ($46.4 million) project, which is pointedly being dubbed “Nevertheless” and carried out with the Finance Ministry, will offer additional support for immigrant housing, especially in the Negev and the Galilee, as well as university stipends and the opportunity to study in their mother tongue for their first year.

“There is a lot of ‘home’ in the plan,” Sofer said.

Next generations watching

The wave of immigration offers Israel an opportunity to build on the solidarity and spirit of volunteerism in the country, Sofer said.

“From the difficulties we can either grow or heaven forfend go backward,” he said.

“The Jerusalem we can build is one of solidarity," the minister said. “If we build on such solidarity then this war will be a game-changer.”

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