Israel: 16,200 Jewish immigrants arrived in 2009

AP News
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Posted: Dec 27, 2009 1:37 PM

Israeli authorities say 16,200 Jews moved to the country in 2009, the first yearly increase in a decade.

The quasi-governmental Jewish Agency handles immigration to Israel. In a statement, it said in 2008, almost 14,000 Jews came to live in Israel.

The statement said 7,120 immigrants came from the former Soviet Union this year, and 5,300 came from English-speaking countries. Both increased over 2008.

The overall number of new arrivals has been dropping since immigration from the former Soviet Union peaked in the 1990s. Sunday's statement said a total of 221,000 Jews immigrated over the past decade.

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Israel offers automatic citizenship to Jews who move there. About 80 percent of the nation's 7 million residents are Jewish. Most of the rest are Arabs.