Ever since the State of Israel was founded, aliyah (Jewish immigration) to Israel has been regarded as one of the significant symbols of the state’s independence. Jerusalem, as the center of the Jewish world, constituted a source of attraction for new immigrants from around the world. During the past decade, the percentage of new immigrants who settled in Jerusalem, out of all immigrants to Israel, has very much increased. In 2011, a total of 2,200 new immigrants, accounting for 13% of all immigrants to Israel, settled in Jerusalem as their first place of residence. The number of immigrants who settled in Jerusalem in 2011 was higher than the numbers for Tel Aviv – 800 (5%) – and Haifa – 1,200 (7%).
Jerusalem has less power of attraction for immigrants with limited resources. During the 1990s, therefore, when large numbers of immigrants arrived from former Soviet states, only 7% of all the immigrants to Israel chose to settle in Jerusalem. The changing characteristics of immigrants to Israel, and in particular the increase in percentage of immigrants from wealthy states (especially the United States and Western Europe) contributed to a significant increase since 2002 in the percentage of immigrants who choose Jerusalem as their first place of residence in Israel. In 2011, 36% of immigrants who settled in Jerusalem came from the United States, 20% from France, and only 12% from Russia.
The socio-economic characteristics of immigrants who arrived during the 1990s and of those who arrived during the 2000s have influenced their choice of neighborhood. The preferred neighborhoods among immigrants who settled in Jerusalem during the 1990s were Pisgat Ze’ev, where immigrants who arrived during the 1990s accounted for 17% of the population, Neve Ya’akov (15%), and the French Hill (14%). In contrast, the preferred neighborhoods among immigrants who arrived during the first decade of the 2000s, most of whom came from the United States and France, were Talbiyeh, where new immigrants accounted for 14% of the population, the city center (14%), and Rehavia (13%).
Sources: Press Release: “Immigrants to Jerusalem,” the Central Bureau of Statistics and the 2012 Statistical Yearbook of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies