The essence of Israel's development has been aliyah immigration of Jews from dozens of countries on every continent speaking over 100 different languages. They came from Russia before the revolution, from Germany and Austria fleeing the Nazis and from Poland, Hungary, Romania and Czechoslovakia out of the ashes of the Holocaust. They came from Iraq, Syria, Yemen and North Africa expelled by Arab anti-Zionism. They came from Latin America and Turkey fleeing cruel military juntas and from Iran fleeing the ayatollahs.
There has also always been a steady stream of immigrants from the Americas, Britain, France, Benelux and Scandinavia, South Africa and Australia immigrants motivated by Zionism and Judaism and the opportunity to re-build Zion.
Most recently they have come from the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and Ethiopia. Since 1990 alone over 700,000 immigrants have reached Israel from the former Soviet Union. In May 1991 the largest number of newcomers to reach Israel in one day was recorded when 14,000 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to the country during Operation Solomon.
After half a century of independence, the various immigrant groups that make up Israel's society are agreed on their commitment to the state's essential values: a Jewish state in its ancient homeland, democratic governance, ongoing immigration and the attainment of peace with its neighbors. together with this, ethnic diversity is very much a part of Israel's society, affecting all aspects of its cultural, religious and political life.
The following Israelis represent a cross-section of this ingathering of the exiles.