Official statistics show that 19,700 new Jewish immigrants came to Israel from over 100 countries in 2007.
One third (6,445) of the immigrants came from the former USSR; 19% (3,607) from Ethiopia; 15% (2,957) from North America, 14% (2,659) from France; 8% from Central and South America and another 3% from Britain and other western European countries.
The last time such low immigration numbers were registered was in 1989, before the massive wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union.
Religious Zionists attempted to give this news an interpretation favorable to their cause. "The lowered numbers of Aliyah around the world are really a good sign, showing that Jews have emptied out of places like the former Soviet Union and the Arab countries," said Yishai Fleisher, a talk show host at Israel National Radio and co-founder of pro-immigration organization Kumah.
"We don't yearn to have high Aliyah numbers all of the time," Fleisher explained. "We yearn to bring the Jewish people home. The numbers are a clear sign that the next major frontier in Aliyah is North America and the western countries like England and France. That's where the next wave of Aliyah is going to come from."
Fleisher noted that according to Nefesh B'Nefesh statistics, Aliyah from western countries was up in 2007. "Western Aliyah is up and it will continue to rise because of the great fuel of Aliyah in England and France, anti-Semitism. Meanwhile, in North America, ideological and religious Aliyah is what we can expect, unless some unexpected anti-Semitic wave hits the region."
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The religious Zionists attempt to make the best of this report by stating proudly that immigration from North America is up. However, this statistic must be viewed in the context of the much greater rate of emigration from the Zionist state to North America. Erez Halfon, director of the Absorption Ministry, stated recently that between 18,000 and 21,000 Israelis emigrate each year. Most of them go to North America: there are 650,000 Israelis living abroad, and 450,000 of them live in North America. The Zionists are struggling unsuccessfully to recover these expatriates; see our recent article on the subject:
Yishai Fleisher sounds happy about anti-Semitism in England and France, since it leads to increased immigration. He only wishes for an unexpected anti-Semitic wave in North America. He echoes Herzl's words, written over a century ago, that anti-Semites are the best friends of Zionism.