Al Jazeera reports that half the people who immigrated to Israel from the US in 2003 have returned. In response to all the publicity surrounding the ongoing efforts by organizations line Nefesh B’Nefesh to increase aliyah from North America, it might come as a surprise to realize that current immigration rates are in fact the lowest they’ve been in 2 decades.


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Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • I wouldn’t accept the Al Jazeera report at face value. Some people who made aliya last year have returned to the U.S., but nowhere near half. The acquaintances of mine who made aliyah via Nefesh B’nefesh (admitedly not a large group – maybe four or five people or families) are still in Israel.

  • I think Al Jazeera is synonymous with “not to be taken too seriously.” That almost doesn’t even need to be said. But this article merited attention because by Al Jazeera standards, it was pretty balanced. I also threw in an article from Ha’aretz. I put this up because it made me think of a conversation I had with my Aunt Gania who lives in Jerusalem. She’s a hard core Zionist, in the fashion of Morrocan Jews – there’s no nuance or qualifiers with her. Yet she told me (in hebrew) “ck, it’s not like it used to be. In 20 years there won’t be a nation here any more.” She bemoaned both the spiritual and idealistic deterioration of Israeli society, as well as the physical facts – people are leaving, people aren’t having enough kids, youth are shirking their duties, and no one cares.

    Look, I’m a big tough guy. I’ve jumped off of bridges, I’ve scuffled with Hell’s Angels, I’ve done some pretty scary things because very few things scare me. So when I end my post with the single word “scary,” it means “Buddy. Believe me. This IS scary.”

  • CK,

    I think your Aunt is wrong. Before Israel invaded Palestinian cities in April 2002, there was a notion that if reservists were called up for those sorts of operations, they’d refuse to serve. Yet when 20,000 reservists were called up, not only did 99% immeidately head to their base, hundreds more who weren’t called up asked to assist in the battle. People may be disillusioned at the difficult situation, but most Israelis remain steadfast, and that’s why it hasn’t been defeated by terror. Just the idea that Mobius and his buddies go out for beers in Jerusalem is a sign of how much improved the situation is now compared to 2001-02, when the streets of Jerusalem were desolate.

    As for Al Jazeera, the article overall may have been balanced, but the idea that 50 percent of last year’s olim have left is totally bull****.

  • I friggin hope my aunt is wrong…. don’t tell her I said that though, she will kick my ass. NEVER mess with an Israeli school teacher. Trust me.

  • If your aunt is anything like the rest of the older generation of your family, I wouldn’t even contemplating messing with her…

  • Aliyah in general is at a very low point, primarily because the million-person wave from the former USSR has finally sputtered to a (hopefully temporary) near-close.
    Aliyah from North America, however–in distinct contrast–while small in numbers is in fact reaching a 20 year high mark.
    Nefesh B’Nefesh alone brought over 500 olim in 2002, 1000 in 2003 and 1600 in 2004 so far. That’s moving in the right direction.
    Also, 93% of the Nefesh olim are gainfully employed (one or both adults from each family)–and that’s even better than the overall national employment average. 99% of the olim–not 50% (tut-tut, al-Jazeera) from NBN are still growing, they’re still glowing, they’re still going strong (to parapharase Hello Dolly).
    Charley Levine, Spokesperson, Nefesh B’Nefesh, Jerusalem

  • how are you . i am amina sabik from maroccan city t want stady in the america city but t dn ‘t mony