Tonight is the start of Yom HaAtzmaut, the day that Israel celebrates its 67th year as an independent state, a year in which immigration is expected to set a new record.
Jewish immigration to Israel hit a ten-year high in 2014, with over 26,500 people making aliyah over the course of the year, according to figures released by the Jewish Agency. This represented a 32% rise compared to 2013, and the highest immigration rate since 2002, when 33,539 made aliyah.
Among the top cities to welcome olim in 2014 were Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beit Shemesh and Ra'anana.
According to Central Bureau of Statistics data, emigration rates are also declining. The figures released in recent months suggest that Israelis are much less inclined to permanently leave the country than they were 10 or 20 years ago, with 2012, the last year for which figures on long-term emigration are available, showing the lowest emigration rates since the founding of the state in 1948.
To celebrate the day, we're sharing a new video just released by Nefesh B'Nefesh showing the wide-range of reasons that bring these new immigrants to Israel. The individuals shown in the video are profiled in a link from the video in which they tell their personal aliyah story and what they love about Israel.
Their stories and occupations are interesting and varied. They include Jamie Shear, an artist, calligrapher, and creator of all forms of Judaica in Jerusalem, Jeremy Welfeld, founder of Jem's Beer Factory in Petach Tikva, and Mia Pava, a dress designer who opened a bridal studio in 2014.
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: THE VIDEO IS NOT VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY. YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)