Israeli Americans (Hebrew: אָמֵרִיקאים יִשׂרָאֵלים lit. Ameriqaim Yisra'elim) are Americans who have Israeli citizenship either by descent or naturalization. Reflecting Israel's population, while the vast majority are Jewish, they also include the faiths of the Arab-Israeli minorities: Muslims, Christians, and Druze.
|106,839 - 150,000|
|Regions with significant populations|
|New York metropolitan area, Los Angeles metropolitan area, Miami metropolitan area, and other large metropolitan areas|
|American English, Hebrew, Russian, Arabic, French, Yiddish|
Minority Islam, Christianity, and Druze
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. 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 per year since. The number of immigrants in the United States born in Israel is estimated by demographers to be close to 140,000, 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. The 2000 United States Census estimated that as many as 106,839 Israelis live in the United States nowadays, while other unsourced estimates say the number is much higher, around 500,000. A considerable numbers of Israelis, estimated broadly from 200,000 to three times that figure, have moved abroad in the recent decades (Yerida).
According to statistics from the United States Department of Homeland Security, between 1949 and 2015, about 250,000 Israelis acquired permanent residency in the United States. The statistics did not track those who eventually moved back to Israel. 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 outside of Israel, in the United States and elsewhere around the world, approximately 4% of Israel's native-born Jewish population. 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.
In addition to native-born Israelis and Israelis who originally immigrated to Israel from other countries and then moved on to the United States, there have been American Jews who immigrated to Israel and became Israeli citizens, lived there for a certain period of time, and later returned to the United States. Israeli demographer Yinon Cohen estimated the number of American-born Israelis who had returned to the United States to be between 30,000 and 60,000 by 1990, and between 53,000 and 75,000 in 2000.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Based on the 2013 Pew American Jewry Survey  estimate base on Jews by religion/no religion/Jewish background who were born in Israel 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, and these adults have an estimated 200 thousand children under the age of 18 who have at least one Israel-born grandparent. An additional 60 thousand American Jews reported that they had once "lived in Israel."
|Percent Israeli American|
|Georgia (U.S. state)||13||1,149||0.0%|
|District of Columbia||-||229||0.0%|
Culture and organizationsEdit
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. At the 2017 Celebrate Israel parade in Manhattan, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared the Sunday Shimon Peres Day in New York and announced a new venture to promote cultural heritage tourism between Israel and New York, as Cuomo marched alongside the son of the late Israeli leader.
A variety of Hebrew language websites, newspapers and magazines are published in New York, Los Angeles, South Florida, and other U.S. regions. The Israeli Channel along with two other Hebrew-language channels are available via satellite broadcast nationally in the United States. 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. An Israeli Independence Day Festival has taken place yearly in Los Angeles since 1990 with thousands of Israeli emigrants and American Jews.
In Los Angeles, a Council of Israeli Community was founded in 2001.In 2007, an Israel Leadership Council (ILC) was also organized in Los Angeles, later it was renamed Israeli-American Council, and it has been active in supporting 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. 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.
Relationship with American JewsEdit
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. Jewish Americans, especially religious Jewish Americans, tend to maintain correspondingly sparse contact with the Israeli American community besides participation in religious ceremonies. 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 subgroup within the broader American Jewish community. An estimated 75% of Israeli Americans marry within the Jewish community, as opposed to about 50% of non-Israeli Jewish Americans. At the same time, younger Israelis in America are assimilating in increasing numbers.
In popular cultureEdit
- Comedian-writer Robert Smigel came up with a Saturday Night Live sketch in 1990 called the "Sabra Shopping Network". Two years later, Smigel followed it up with "Sabra Price Is Right", starring Tom Hanks as a pushy Israeli game show host, Sandler and Rob Schneider as its presenters and Smigel as a cigarette-smoking announcer, all pushing shoddy electronics on hapless clientele.
- The concept for the 2008 You Don't Mess with the Zohan movie, which was based on the skits "Sabra Shopping Network" and "Sabra Price Is Right", focused on Zohan Dvir, an IDF commando soldier, who stages his own death to fulfill his deepest dream—moving to New York to become a hairdresser.
- At the end of the 2005 film Munich, the main character Avner (played by Eric Bana), who is an Israeli Mossad agent, decides to move from Israel to Brooklyn, New York, to reunite with his wife and their child.
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2004-12-04. Retrieved 2014-02-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- It is estimated[by whom?] 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
- Herman, Pini (April 25, 2012). "Rumors of mass Israeli emigration are much exaggerated". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- 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.
- "Israeli Americans - History, Modern era, Significant immigration waves, Settlement patterns". Everyculture.com. 1948-05-14. Retrieved 2012-05-26.
- 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.
- "Supplemental Table 2. Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status by Leading Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) of Residence and Region and Country of Birth: Fiscal Year 2014". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2013 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2011 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
- 2012 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, Office of Immigration Statistics, Homeland Security, Table 2 page 6
- "American Community Survey Main - U.S. Census Bureau". Census.gov. Retrieved 2013-06-05.
- Andrew I. Killgore."Facts on the Ground: A Jewish Exodus from Israel" Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March 2004, pp.18-20
- "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
- Herman, Pini (June 6, 2012), "Stop Worrying About Yordim", The Jewish Daily Forward, New York, NY
- Cohen, Yinon. 2007. "The Demographic Success of Zionism."
- "Database on immigrants and expatriates:Emigration rates by country of birth (Total population)". Organisation for Economic Co-ordination and Development, Statistics Portal. Archived from the original on May 12, 2008. Retrieved April 15, 2008.
- "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2012 Supplemental Table 2". U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
- "Jewish Community Study of New York" (PDF). United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York. 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-14. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
- Greenberg, Sam (2009-05-03). "NY Israelis have high level of Jewish involvement". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2009-05-09.[permanent dead link]
- 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..
- Spence, Rebecca (2008-04-24). "Wanting to connect, Israelis find religion". Forward. Forward Association Inc. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
- "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
- Herman, Pini, "Tuchis Sourced Demographics for Israelis in the US", Demographic Duo Blog, The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, retrieved May 15, 2015
- "U.S. Census Bureau". Factfinder2.census.gov. 2010-10-05. Retrieved 2013-06-05.
- "CELEBRATE ISRAEL PARADE". email@example.com. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
- Deena Yellin (May 29, 2015). "Celebrate Israel Parade in NYC to include prominent North Jersey contingent". North Jersey Media Group. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
- Erin Durkin (June 4, 2017). "Cuomo announces new program promoting tourism between N.Y. and Israel at Celebrate Israel parade". New York Daily News. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
- "Hebrew News". Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-06-27.
- 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.
- "My Israel.com" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- "Yisraelim.com" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- "Localista.com" (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- "Shavua Israeli - The Israeli Weekly Magazine" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2008-04-28.
- "We Are in America - The Israeli Magazine" (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on April 2, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-18.
- "PhillyIsraelim.com" (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- "The Israeli Channel on Dish Network". Archived from the original on 2008-04-07. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
- "Mofaim" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- "Israeli Independence Day Festival". Retrieved 2008-04-17.
- "Council of Israeli Community". Retrieved 2008-04-17.
- "Israeli Business Network of Beverly Hills". Retrieved 2008-05-08.
- Friedlander, Jonathan; Amnon Peery; R. Jean Roth (2005-03-15). "The Israeli-American Study Initiative". IsraelisInAmerica.Org. Retrieved 2008-05-08.
- Sara Ashley O'Brien (July 10, 2014). "Israeli startups flock to New York". CNN Money. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- 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.
- Eshman, Rob (2008-05-16). "Polished Diamonds". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. p. 8. Retrieved 2008-05-18.
- Tugend, Tom. "Young U.S. Jews feel closer to Israel, studies find." Jewish Journal. 13 August 2013. 13 August 2013.
- Levine, Rabbi Menachem. "Dear Israelis, America is not Israel". Israel National News. Retrieved 2018-12-12.
- "Sabra Price is Right". Archived from the original on October 30, 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-20.