Israeli Americans

Israeli Americans
אמריקאים ישראלים
Total population
(106,839[1][2] - 150,000[3][4][5])
Regions with significant populations
New York City Metropolitan Area,[6][7][8][9] Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, Miami Metropolitan Area, and other large metropolitan areas
American English, Hebrew, Russian, Arabic, French, Yiddish
Judaism minority Druze, Christianity and Islam

Israeli Americans (Hebrew: אָמֵרִיקאים יִשׂרָאֵלים lit. Ameriqaim Yisra'elim) are Americans who have Israeli citizenship either by descent or naturalization.


Israelis began migrating to the United States shortly after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. Thus, during the 1950s 21,376 Israeli immigrants came to the US and the 1960s saw 30,911 Israeli immigrants, often seen as the first wave of Israeli immigration to the United States when 52,278 Israelis emigrated to the US according to US Immigration data.[10] A second wave of modest immigration continued with a total of 36,306 Israelis during 1970 to 1979, 43,669 in 1980 to 1989, 41,340 in 1990 to 1999 and 54,801 in 2000 to 2009. Since 2010 Israeli migration to the U.S. and has continued at around four thousand a year since. The number of immigrants in the United States born in Israel is estimated by demographers to be close to one hundred forty thousand, while the number of Israeli immigrants in the US is an issue that has been debated by laymen to be much larger, a phenomenon of overestimation of co-ethnic population common to many ethnic communities.

Israeli immigration to the United States developed during the 1980s and 1990s due to a number of reasons, including the war between Israelis and Palestinians and high taxes and lack of housing available in their homeland. Also, the acquisition of aspects of American culture (especially fashion and entertainment) in Israel caused many Israelis to want to have the economic and educational opportunities of the United States.


Since the declaration of the state of Israel, and until today many Israelis emigrated to the United States. According to the 2000 United States Census estimated that as many as 106,839 Israelis live in the United States nowadays,[11] while other unsourced estimates say the number is much higher, around 500,000.[3][4][5] A considerable numbers of Israelis, estimated broadly from 200,000 to three times that figure, have moved abroad in the recent decades.[12] In 2012, a Global Religion and Migration Database constructed by the Pew Research Center showed that there were a total of 330,000 native-born Israelis, including 230,000 Jews, living around the world, approximately 4% of Israel's native-born Jewish population.[13][14] Based on current estimates of Israel-born Jewish migrants to the U.S. of 140,000, two thirds of Jewish Israeli native emigrants have settled in the U.S. and the remaining third in Canada, Europe, South America, South Africa and the remainder of the world. Reasons for emigration vary, but generally relate to a combination of economic and political concerns.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development calculated an 'expatriate rate' of 2.9 persons per thousand, putting Israel in the mid-range of expatriate rates among the 175 OECD countries examined in 2005.[15]

The New York City metropolitan area has now become by far the leading metropolitan gateway for Israeli immigrants legally admitted into the United States, with the Los Angeles metropolitan area now in a distant second place.[8] Within the United States, as of April 2013, Israeli airline El Al operated from John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport, both in the New York City metropolitan area, as well as from Los Angeles International Airport. The New York City metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel, and the city proper contains the largest Jewish community in the world.[16]

In 2009, Steven M. Cohen and Judith Veinstein found that in New York, Jewish Israeli emigrants are highly affiliated with the Jewish community even though community affiliation is low in Israel. Israelis were found to be more connected to Judaism than their American counterparts in terms of synagogue membership and attendance, kashrut observance, participation in Jewish charity events and membership in Jewish community centers, among other indicators used by the study.[17]

In 1982, Pini Herman and David LaFontaine, in a study of Israeli emigrants in Los Angeles, found high levels of Jewish affiliation, Jewish organizational participation and concentration in Jewish neighborhoods by Israeli emigrants. Israeli emigrants who behaved in a comparatively secular manner in Israel tended to behave in a more devoutly Jewish manner in Los Angeles and Israeli emigrants who reported greater Jewish behaviors in Israel tended to engage in Jewish behaviors to a lesser degree in Los Angeles, thus both becoming more 'Americanized' in their Jewish behaviors.[18]

Israelis tend to be disproportionately Jewishly active in their diaspora communities, creating and participating formal and informal organizations, participating in diaspora Jewish religious institutions and sending their children to Jewish education providers at a greater rate than local diaspora Jews.[19]

By generations

Based on the 2013 Pew American Jewry Survey [20] estimate base on Jews by religion/no religion/Jewish background who were born in Israel/Palestine is 140,0000 nationally. American Jews born in Israel had 40 thousand children under age 18 in their US households. Another estimated 170 thousand Jewish adults not born in Israel have at least one parent born in Israel/Palestine, and these adults have an estimated 200 thousand children under the age of 18 who have at least one Israel-born grandparent. An An additional 60 thousand American Jews reported that they had once "lived in Israel."[21]

By state

The U.S states by Israeli Americans as per the 2000 census:[22]

The New York City Metropolitan Area is home to by far the largest Israeli immigrant population in the United States.[7][8][9]
Population rank
Israeli American
Percent Israeli American
 New York 1 30,164 0.2%
 California 2 24,956 0.1%
 Florida 3 9,511 0.1%
 New Jersey 4 7,939 0.1%
 Massachusetts 5 3,713 0.1%
 Illinois 6 3,557 0.0%
 Pennsylvania 7 3,051 0.0%
 Maryland 8 3,044 0.1%
 Texas 9 2,974 0.0%
 Michigan 10 1,737 0.0%
 Ohio 11 1,640 0.0%
 Connecticut 12 1,387 0.0%
 Georgia (U.S. state) 13 1,149 0.0%
 Washington 14 1,021 0.0%
 Arizona 15 984 0.0%
 Nevada 16 930 0.0%
 Virginia 17 898 0.0%
 Colorado 18 873 0.0%
 North Carolina 19 745 0.0%
 Missouri 20 612 0.0%
 Wisconsin 21 540 0.0%
 Oregon 22 454 0.0%
 South Carolina 23 454 0.0%
 Minnesota 24 432 0.0%
 Indiana 25 363 0.0%
 Tennessee 26 324 0.0%
 New Mexico 27 309 0.0%
 Oklahoma 28 240 0.0%
 Louisiana 29 230 0.0%
 District of Columbia - 229 0.0%
 Utah 30 226 0.0%
 Rhode Island 31 214 0.0%
 Hawaii 32 208 0.0%
 Kansas 33 197 0.0%
 Iowa 34 187 0.0%
 Alabama 35 181 0.0%
 New Hampshire 36 142 0.0%
 Kentucky 37 139 0.0%
 Delaware 38 138 0.0%
 Vermont 39 131 0.0%
 Arkansas 40 103 0.0%
 Mississippi 41 100 0.0%
 Idaho 42 87 0.0%
 Nebraska 43 85 0.0%
 Alaska 44 62 0.0%
 Puerto Rico - 55 0.0%
 Maine 45 45 0.0%
  North Dakota 46 36 0.0%
 West Virginia 47 36 0.0%
 Montana 48 33 0.0%
 South Dakota 49 22 0.0%
 Wyoming 50 7 0.0%

Culture and organizations

Various Israeli-American communities have their own newspapers which are printed in Hebrew. Communities arrange cultural, entertainment and art events (including celebrations of the Israeli independence day which usually takes place in Israeli-American demographic centers), and some have the Israeli Network channel, which consists of a selection of live broadcasts as well as reruns of Israeli television news broadcasts, entertainment programs and Israeli sport events. Hundreds of thousands of spectators view the annual Celebrate Israel Parade on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which touts itself as the world's largest celebration of Israel.[23][24]

A variety of Hebrew language websites,[25] newspapers and magazines are published in South Florida, New York,[26][27][28][29] Los Angeles[30][31] and other U.S. regions.[32] The Israeli Channel along with two other Hebrew-language channels are available via satellite broadcast nationally in the United States.[33] Hebrew language Israeli programming on local television was broadcast in New York and Los Angeles during the 1990s, prior to Hebrew language satellite broadcast. Live performances by Israeli artists are a regular occurrence in centers of Israeli emigrants in the U.S. and Canada with audience attendance often in the hundreds.[34] An Israeli Independence Day Festival has taken place yearly in Los Angeles since 1990 with thousands of Israeli emigrants and American Jews.[35]

In Los Angeles, a Council of Israeli Community was founded in 2001.[36] An Israel Leadership Club was also organized in Los Angeles and has been active in support activities for Israel, most recently in 2008, it sponsored with the local Jewish Federation and Israeli consulate a concert in support for the embattled population suffering rocket attacks of Sderot, Israel where the three frontrunners for the U.S. president, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain greeted the attendees by video and expressed their support for the residents of Sderot. An Israeli Business Network of Beverly Hills has existed since 1996.[37] The Israeli-American Study Initiative (IASI), a start-up project based at the UCLA International Institute, is set out to document the lives and times of Israeli Americans—initially focusing on those in Los Angeles and eventually throughout the United States.[38]

Economic contributions

According to CNN, Israeli companies are establishing entrepreneurial ventures in New York City at the rate of ten new startups per month.[39]

Relationship with American Jews

Israeli Americans are generally seen as having less interaction with the non-Israeli Jewish American community and its institutions, often preferring to maintain ties of association with other Israeli Americans.[40] In return, Jewish Americans, especially religious Jewish Americans, tend to maintain little contact with the Israeli American community besides participation in religious ceremonies.[41] At one point, religious American Jews viewed "yordim" as being the antithesis of the Jewish people's "eternal hope" of return and permanent settlement in Israel, but now consider them an important sub-group within the broader American Jewish community. 75% of Israeli Americans marry within the Jewish community (as opposed to about 50% of non-Israeli Jewish Americans).[42]

Notable Israeli Americans

In popular culture

See also


  2. It is estimated that 400,000–800,000 Israeli Jews have immigrated to the United States since the 1950s, though this number remains a contested figure, since many Israelis are originally from other countries and may list their origin countries when arriving in the United States. Also, there are many Israelis who live in the U.S. but do not have an American citizenship, therefore they aren't counted in this figure
  3. 1 2 Herman, Pini (April 25, 2012). "Rumors of mass Israeli emigration are much exaggerated". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  4. 1 2 Gallya Lahav; Asher Arian (2005). 'Israelis in a Jewish diaspora: The multiple dilemmas of a globalized group' in International Migration and the Globalization of Domestic Politics ed. Rey Koslowski. London: Routledge. p. 89. ISBN 0-415-25815-4.
  5. 1 2 "Israeli Americans - History, Modern era, Significant immigration waves, Settlement patterns". 1948-05-14. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
  6. Deena Yellin (May 30, 2014). "North Jersey groups to step off in NYC's 'Celebrate Israel' parade". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  7. 1 2 "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2013 Lawful Permanent Residents Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  8. 1 2 3 "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2012 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  9. 1 2 "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2011 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  10. 2012 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, Office of Immigration Statistics, Homeland Security, Table 2 page 6
  11. "American Community Survey Main - U.S. Census Bureau". Retrieved 2013-06-05.
  12. Andrew I. Killgore."Facts on the Ground: A Jewish Exodus from Israel" Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March 2004, pp.18-20
  13. "Faith On The Move -The Religious Affiliation of International Migrants", The Pew Forum On Religion and Public Life, The Pew Research Center, retrieved May 16, 2015
  14. Herman, Pini (June 6, 2012), "Stop Worrying About Yordim", The Jewish Daily Forward, New York, NY
  15. "Database on immigrants and expatriates:Emigration rates by country of birth (Total population)". Organisation for Economic Co-ordination and Development, Statistics Portal. Retrieved April 15, 2008.
  16. "Jewish Community Study of New York" (PDF). United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York. 2002. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
  17. Greenberg, Sam (2009-05-03). "NY Israelis have high level of Jewish involvement". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  18. Herman, Pini; LaFontaine, David (1983). In our Footsteps: Israeli Migration to the U.S. and Los Angeles. Los Angeles, CA: Hebrew Union College J.I.R. Retrieved 2011-07-09..
  19. Spence, Rebecca (2008-04-24). "Wanting to connect, Israelis find religion". Forward. Forward Association Inc. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
  20. "A Portrait of Jewish Americans: Findings from a Pew Research Center Survey of U.S. Jews" (PDF), Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project, Pew Research Center, p. 197, retrieved May 16, 2015
  21. Herman, Pini, "Tuchis Sourced Demographics for Israelis in the US", Demographic Duo Blog, The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, retrieved May 15, 2015
  22. "U.S Census Bureau". 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2013-06-05.
  23. "CELEBRATE ISRAEL PARADE". Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  24. Deena Yellin (May 29, 2015). "Celebrate Israel Parade in NYC to include prominent North Jersey contingent". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  25. "Hebrew News". Retrieved 2008-06-27.
  26. Meyers, Oren (2001). "A Home Away from Home? Israel Shelanu and the Self-Perceptions of Israeli Migrants" (PDF). Israel Studies. Indiana University Press. 6 (3): 71–90. doi:10.1353/is.2001.0031. Retrieved 2008-05-05.
  27. "My" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  28. "" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  29. "" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  30. "Shavua Israeli - The Israeli Weekly Magazine" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2008-04-28.
  31. "We Are in America - The Israeli Magazine" (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on April 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
  32. "" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  33. "The Israeli Channel on Dish Network". Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  34. "Mofaim" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2008-04-29.
  35. "Israeli Independence Day Festival". Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  36. "Council of Israeli Community". Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  37. "Israeli Business Network of Beverly Hills". Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  38. Friedlander, Jonathan; Amnon Peery; R. Jean Roth (2005-03-15). "The Israeli-American Study Initiative". IsraelisInAmerica.Org. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
  39. Sara Ashley O'Brien (July 10, 2014). "Israeli startups flock to New York". CNN Money. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  40. Telushkin, Joseph (1991). Jewish Literacy: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History. New York: William Morrow & Co. p. 341. ISBN 0-688-08506-7.
  41. Eshman, Rob (2008-05-16). "Polished Diamonds". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. p. 8. Retrieved 2008-05-18.
  42. Tugend, Tom. "Young U.S. Jews feel closer to Israel, studies find." Jewish Journal. 13 August 2013. 13 August 2013.
  43. "Sabra Price is Right". Archived from the original on October 30, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
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