There are 25,000 Israelis in Britain, survey reveals


The most extensive survey carried out on Israelis living in Britain has put their number at around 25,000.

Although considerably lower than the claims often made for the expatriate Israeli population, the figure is based on “the most reliable count we have had,” said Dr Jonathan Boyd, executive director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR).

There were 23,221 Israelis in Britain, according to returns from the 2011 UK Census. Once the figure is adjusted to take account of an estimated number who did not fill in the Census form, that would bring the total to 25,744, JPR said

They have also been arriving in greater numbers in recent years. For every two British Jews who made aliyah from 2001 to 2011, three Israelis came to the UK.

While the number of Israeli-born Israelis in the UK remained steady between 1991 and 2001, they had increased by nearly half – 48 per cent- in 2011.

An average of 865 Israelis have come here annually since 2001, while 582 British Jews made their way to Israel.

The Israeli newcomers are generally in their 20s and 30s, highly educated and often married.

Just under three-quarters – 73 per cent are Jewish – though a few identify as ethnic rather than religious Jews: nine per cent have another religion, mostly Christian; and 16 per cent said they had “no religion” – although the fact that many live in areas of Jewish population such as Barnet suggests they are probably of Jewish origin.

They bring a “potential injection of vibrancy and growth” into the British Jewish community, Dr Boyd said.

Nearly one in five – 19 per cent – are Charedi.

Nearly two in five – 39 per cent – of UK Israelis have been settled here for more than 20 years.

Just over 11 per cent have been here for up to a year, and a further 16 per cent for one to five years, although there is no data for those planning only to work here for a few years.

Israelis are generally more secular and less likely to be synagogue members than native British Jews, according to data from JPR’s own communal survey of 2013.

But more than half the Israelis with children – 53 per cent- send them to Jewish schools - almost the same proportion as recorded by JPR for British Jews.

Speculating on what is behind the immigration, Dr David Graham, the author of the report, "Britain’s Israeli Diaspora", noted that only nine per cent of those who were born in Israel and married had a Israeli-born partner.

That suggested, he said, that “most are partnered to Brits. In other words, a significant amount of international mixing and matching may be the key migratory driver, followed by an intricate mix of economic, security and lifestyle considerations, which, together, are currently combining to tip the migration balance away from Israel and towards Britain.”

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