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Report: Half a million Israelis have fled occupied territories since Oct. 7

Passengers look at a departure board at Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv as flights are canceled and delayed because of the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm on October 7, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Nearly half a million Israelis have fled the occupied territories since the start of Israel’s brutal aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip early in October, a report says.

The Population and Immigration Authority estimated that around 470,000 Israelis have fled since October 7, and it is unclear if they will return or not.

"Therefore, there is a negative migration of about half a million people, and this does not include thousands of foreign workers, refugees, and diplomats who left” the occupied territories, Zman magazine said.

That period also saw a decline of more than 70 percent in the number of Jews “immigrating” to Israel.

According to data from the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, only about 2,000 people “immigrated” to Israel between October 7 and November 29.

“This is equal to nearly 1,000 immigrants per month, compared to around 4,500 per month on average since the start of this year until the outbreak of the war,” Zman said.

That came as the war has taken a heavy toll on Israel’s economy. According to Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics, one in three businesses has shuttered or is operating at 20 percent capacity. More than half of businesses also suffered over 50 percent loss in revenues.

Before the start of the war on Gaza, the number of Israelis applying for foreign passports had jumped amid widespread discontent over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan for a judicial overhaul.

Netanyahu introduced the plan in January, triggering months of unprecedented anti-regime protests, with critics describing the plan as a threat to the independence of the courts by the prime minister, who is on trial on graft charges.

Those in favor of the scheme allege that it introduces some balance in the power that is wielded by the different branches of the regime. Its opponents, on the other side of the ledger, say upon ratification, the plan would empower the ruling class to act in a more authoritarian fashion.

Israel launched the war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas waged the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in response to the Israeli regime's decades-long campaign of bloodletting and devastation against Palestinians.

At least 16,248 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have been killed in the Israeli strikes.

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