Jewish Journal

Israelis Turning Up Noses to Migratory Opportunities

by Pini Herman

July 18, 2012 | 11:31 am

Twelve Cuban migrants in 2003 were 40 miles to America in a 1951 Chevy pickup truck "boat" and then sent back

It’s pretty clear, from recent and reliable data, that Jewish Israeli-born emigration from Israel is significantly lower at 4 percent than the emigration of native-borns of other comparable countries which averages 8 percent. This was reinforced by the likely declining number of Israeli-born Jews living in New York.

The highest percentage in the world, 25 percent,  of Jewish people not living in the country they were born in also happens to be in Israel.

The people with the lowest emigration rate are living in very close proximity, often immediate family members with the highest emigration rate.  Additionally, earlier research and Israeli media has indicated that both native and non-native Jewish Israelis have very high rates of application for and possession of passports from countries other than Israel.

So why is the emigration rate from Israel so low in spite of a high potential for migration?  Israelis historically prefer to migrate to certain countries, primarily the U.S. and to a much lesser extent to other Western democracies.  This are the countries which are highly desired by migrants worldwide and therefore the migratory slots are highly controlled and limited.

Emigrants from other countries have a wider palate of countries, often including neighboring countries that they consider as serious migratory destinations, not so in the case of Jewish Israelis.  For most Israelis it’s “America or Bust” mostly first New York/New Jersey and to a lesser extent and later, to California and other states.

Flattr this

Pini Herman, PhD. has served as Asst. Research Professor at the University of Southern California Dept. of Geography,  Adjunct Lecturer at the USC School of Social Work,  Research Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles following Bruce Phillips, PhD. in that position (and author of the “most recent” 15 year old study of the LA Jewish population which was the third most downloaded study from Berman Jewish Policy Archives in 2011) and is immediate past President of the Movable Minyan a lay-lead independent congregation in the 3rd Street area. Currently he is a principal of Phillips and Herman Demographic Research. To email Pini: pini00003@gmail.com To follow Pini on Twitter:

Tracker Pixel for Entry


View our privacy policy and terms of service.




Bruce Phillips is Professor of Sociology and Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles. He has conducted Jewish population...

Read more.