Aliyah reached a ten-year high in Israel in 2014 with about 26,500 new immigrants.
The figures released Wednesday, on the last day of 2014, by The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, marked a 32 percent increase in worldwide aliyah over the previous year, which saw about 20,000 new olim.
For the first time ever, according to the Jewish Agency, more immigrants came from France than from any other country. Nearly 7,000 olim from France arrived in Israel in 2014, double the 3,400 who came in 2013.
Aliyah from the Ukraine was up 190 percent over the previous year, with 5,840 new immigrants, compared to some 2,020 in 2013. The increase is due primarily to the ongoing instability in the eastern part of the country, according to the Jewish Agency, which with the Absorption Ministry is expanding operations in Ukraine and offering immigrants from there special financial assistance.
Aliyah from Western Europe as a whole rose 88 percent with 8,640 new immigrants in 2014, In addition to the significant rise in olim from France, 620 immigrants came from the United Kingdom, 100 more than the previous year, and the number of immigrants from Italy doubled to about 340.
Some 11,430 immigrants arrived from the former Soviet Union, an increase of 50 percent over last year, with the most coming from Ukraine. Some 4,830 immigrants came from Russia, Belarus, and the Baltic states.
Aliyah from Latin America remained stable, with the arrival of some 1,070 immigrants, similar to the previous year. Some 3,870 immigrants came from North America compared to some 3,600 last year. The number of olim from Eastern Europe dropped from 270 last year to 232, and 190 came from South Africa, the same as last year. Some 200 immigrants came from Australia and New Zealand, compared to some 260 in 2013.
In a new twist, Tel Aviv received the highest number of new immigrants, followed by Haifa and then by Jerusalem. Additionally, more than half of the immigrants who came to Israel in 2014 were under the age of 35, and the oldest immigrant, from France, was 104.
This story "Israel Immigration Hits 10-Year High Mark" was written by JTA.