Experts in the housing market estimate that the wave of anti-Semitic incidents sweeping Europe and North America will lead to an increase in demand for apartments in Israel from foreign residents. The last major military confrontation between Israel and Hamas in 2014 led to a sharp rise in apartment purchases, in particular by French Jewry.
Based on the shocking increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Europe and North America following Operation Guardian of the Walls, there are growing estimates in Israel’s construction industry that there will be a rise in demand for apartments from Jews around the world. Experts predict that more individuals and families will make Aliyah, while other Jews in the Diaspora that have no immediate intention of immigrating to Israel may choose to purchase an apartment in the Jewish homeland as an “insurance policy” in case the situation abroad continues to deteriorate.
In an interview published in the economic newspaper The Marker at the end of May, Ron Avidan, CEO of Azorim Management, one of the largest residential construction companies in Israel, estimated that “there will be an impact on the market due to the rise of anti-Semitism we saw during the operation. People are beginning to understand the importance of owning an apartment in Israel.”
Since the outbreak of Operation Guardian of the Walls, there has been a massive increase in global anti-Semitism, including physical violence against Jews around the world. In New York and Los Angeles, individuals who were easily identified as Jews were beaten on the streets; in England and Germany, synagogues were spray-painted with anti-Semitic graffiti; in Argentina, a Jewish community building was vandalized; and in Turkey, the government decided to close all synagogues until the storms die down. There seems to be almost no community in the world where Jews are not feeling a rise in anti-Semitism following the operation.
In addition to physical and verbal attacks on the streets, international Jewry has also experienced a sharp rise in expressions of hatred online and on social media. According to a report by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), between May 7-14, the week of the riots on the Temple Mount that ultimately sparked the fighting, there were more than 17,000 tweets on Twitter including the phrase “Hitler was right.”
The current wave of anti-Semitism comes on top of an already rising trend identified following the Covid-19 pandemic. The 2020 Anti-Semitism Report published by the Ministry of Diaspora in January presented a grim picture of an increase in violence against Jews and Jewish targets around the world, especially in the United States, against the backdrop of the pandemic, social polarization, and the effects of the US presidential elections. The most recent Israel-Gaza war pushed this phenomenon to a new level.
In order to understand the potential effect that these trends may have on the Israel real estate market, experts are looking back at the events of 2014, following Operation Protective Edge, the last major military confrontation between Israel and Hamas. During and following the operation, the Jewish community in France suffered from a sharp increase in acts of violent anti-Semitism. As a result, there was a huge increase in the demand for apartments and an unprecedented number of properties in Israel purchased by French Jewry, most of them in Tel Aviv, Netanya, Jerusalem, Ashdod and Ra’anana. The dominance of French buyers in 2014-2015 was so great that some attributed the general rise in apartment prices in those years to this phenomenon, alongside an increase in apartment purchases by Jews in New York.
Unfortunately, it appears that the most recent wave of anti-Semitism is even more significant and widespread than it was in 2014, especially in the United States, where the Jewish community has not experienced such a scale of anti-Semitic incidents for decades. As a result, some industry experts estimate that the rise in demand for apartments and purchases among Diaspora Jewry may be even more comprehensive than what the market saw last time.