fbpx
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Array

Rumors of mass Israeli emigration are much exaggerated

Interviewing Israel’s President Shimon Peres in the April 4 issue of Time magazine, a correspondent quoted the often-cited number in suggesting that 1 million Israelis live outside their native country: “It’s not as if Jews are flocking there [to Israel]. What do these demographics say about Israel’s future?” Peres, without disputing the reporter’s figure, responded: “Maybe we are swimming against the stream.”

But the reality is not so grim. Jews are moving to Israel, and the number of Jewish Israelis who have emigrated is not, in fact, 1 million, but rather closer to 230,000 — approximately 4 percent of the Jews born in Israel. In fact, Israel has retained its Jewish native-born population at a higher rate than most other countries have retained their own native-borns. Worldwide, the average emigrants from a country-of-birth numbers about 8 percent, double the proportion of Israeli emigration.

These numbers come from the Global Religion and Migration Database (GRMD) constructed by the Pew Foundation and representing a new source of world migration. Representing nearly a half-million data points, this global database estimates the global migrant population by origin, destination and religious affiliation.

According to the GRMD, about 3 percent of the world’s population — 214 million people — have migrated across international borders. Jews have the highest migration rate by far — 25 percent of the world’s Jews have migrated from one country to another, compared to 5 percent of Christians and 4 percent of Muslims who have left their native lands.  

Only 330,000 international migrants are from Israel, and only 230,000 of them are estimated to be Jewish. That worldwide number is far fewer than the number of Israelis that has been claimed to be in Los Angeles alone by Israeli government entities and Jewish organizations. Danny Gadot of the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles recently estimated that, including dual citizens and children born to Israelis, there are 200,000 to 250,000 Israelis in California and between 600,000 and 750,000 Israelis in the United States.

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of people saying they were born in Israel increased by 30,000, according to the U.S. census, while about 26,000 Americans immigrated to Israel. Recent declines in Israeli migration to the United States, attributed to the economic conditions in both countries, may have equalized the migratory flow between the two countries.

Although there has been a net gain in total migration to Israel from the rest of the world, Israeli policy makers continue to worry about declines in immigration and loss of population to the U.S. Little comfort is found in the fact that Israel still attracts more worldwide Jewish immigrants than the U.S. In 2011, Israel received more than 16,000 immigrants, including 2,400 from the U.S. The U.S. gets an estimated 6,000 Jewish immigrants a year, the majority of them Israeli-born. While Israel remains the destination for most Jews undertaking international migration, the U.S. remains the preferred destination for Israelis.

A conservative estimate of Jewish-Israeli migrants ending up in the U.S. would be about 138,000, or 60 percent of the 230,000 Jewish Israeli-born international migrants. Los Angeles Jewry’s proportional national share of Israeli-born international migrant would be about 21,000, or about 4 percent of the estimated total L.A. Jewish population

Yet, the “million Israelis” living abroad remains the oft-repeated mantra. Israel has a population registry, and Israelis must carry identification documents, and everyone crossing the border has his or her identity recorded. Israeli exit and re-entry data are matched carefully, and the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics has published the numbers of Israelis who have not returned to Israel after two years abroad.  

In the 1980s, I interviewed the Israeli government statistician in charge of compiling this data, which showed that less than 400,000 Israelis, many probably deceased, had not returned to Israel since 1948. When I asked how it is that other Israeli government entities, such as the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, regularly publicize much higher numbers of Israelis emigrants, the statistician shrugged his shoulders and said: “They don’t come and ask us.”


Pini Herman has been assistant research professor at the USC department of geography, adjunct lecturer at the USC School of Social Work and research director at The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. He is currently a principal of Phillips and Herman Demographic Research.

Did you enjoy this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Enjoyed this article?

You'll love our roundtable.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Latest Articles

Israelis Brace for High Holidays in Shadow of Second Lockdown

The Ministry of Health says 5,238 new cases have been confirmed between Thursday and Friday, setting yet another negative record. Restriction on movement is somewhat relaxed from 500 yards from one's home to 1,000 yards.

How High Holiday Services and Arrival of 5781 Are Going to Look Across America

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, synagogues nationwide have drastically adjusted their holiday programming to minimize congregant interactions and time spent in one area. Still, the point, say rabbis, is to celebrate the arrival of the New Year, in whatever form that looks like.

A Tale of Two High Holidays: Why Orthodox Jews Are Going to Synagogue While Everyone Else Is on Zoom

(JTA) – At the Jewish Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, this year’s High Holidays will be anything but normal. With eight services happening in various...

What Does Leading With Heart Look Like in Modern Life?

This Rosh Hashanah, consider how you can cultivate the four pillars of heart-centered leadership.

A Moment in Time: 5781 Can’t Come Soon Enough

Dear all, As we approach the Jewish New Year of 5781, I think we can safely say that 5780 came with incredible challenges. I can’t...

Remembering the Life and Work of the Woman who Championed Women’s Rights: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

"Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies At 87

She died from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

3 Holocaust Monuments Vandalized With Swastikas in Ukraine and Russia

Police are investigating the instances of vandalism.

Letters: 9/11 Commemoration, Spots and Activism, UAE

9/11 Commemoration “Grow, grow, grow,” we imagine angels whispering to every blade of grass. How much more so to every human soul. That kind of...

Culture

‘A Wilderness of Error’ Revisits Infamous Jeffrey MacDonald Murder Case

As recounted in journalist Joe McGinniss’ 1983 book and the subsequent miniseries “Fatal Vision,” MacDonald was convicted of the murders, but was he guilty?

‘The Get’ to Tell Story of Notorious Chasidic Rabbi

The show is based off a GQ article.

Novel’s Russian Jews Find Rough Going in Israel

The setting of “Jerusalem as a Second Language,” a new novel by Rochelle Distelheim (Aubade Publishing), harks back to a remarkable moment in history.

Personalizing Home Ritual With ‘HighHolidaysAtHome’

The team has developed guides and webinars. They're providing steps to invoke various aspects of the holidays as well as family memories. 

Apples of Hope for Rosh Hashanah

As a new year begins, we remember the hard times of recent months but also look forward to the future with a promise of new beginnings.

Latest Articles
Latest

Israelis Brace for High Holidays in Shadow of Second Lockdown

The Ministry of Health says 5,238 new cases have been confirmed between Thursday and Friday, setting yet another negative record. Restriction on movement is somewhat relaxed from 500 yards from one's home to 1,000 yards.

How High Holiday Services and Arrival of 5781 Are Going to Look Across America

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, synagogues nationwide have drastically adjusted their holiday programming to minimize congregant interactions and time spent in one area. Still, the point, say rabbis, is to celebrate the arrival of the New Year, in whatever form that looks like.

A Tale of Two High Holidays: Why Orthodox Jews Are Going to Synagogue While Everyone Else Is on Zoom

(JTA) – At the Jewish Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, this year’s High Holidays will be anything but normal. With eight services happening in various...

What Does Leading With Heart Look Like in Modern Life?

This Rosh Hashanah, consider how you can cultivate the four pillars of heart-centered leadership.

Hollywood

‘Dirty Dancing’ Sequel Starring Jennifer Grey Announced

It’s official: A “Dirty Dancing” sequel is coming, and it’s starring Jewish actress Jennifer Grey, who played Frances “Baby” Houseman in the 1987 original.

Roy Moore’s Lawsuit Against Sacha Baron Cohen Over Being Pranked Can Proceed, Judge Rules

By the time the episode aired, it was widely known that Cohen was punking public figures.

Podcasts

A Rosh HaSchitt’s Creek Sameach to You!

How long has this pandemic been? This week we're giving a big Shofar Wave to 5780 as it exits the building, reviewing some Jewy...

Pandemic Times Episode 88: Words of Light for Rosh Hashanah

New David Suissa Podcast Every Monday and Friday. Excerpts of inspiring messages from community leaders. How do we manage our lives during the coronavirus crisis? How...

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Jewish Journal, 3250 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90010, http://www.jewishjournal.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

x