Monday, July 02, 2007

Russians in Israel: easy come, easy go?

Russian immigrants to Israel - 1992
David Seaton's News Links
Probably nothing changed the face and the character of Israel as much as the massive migration of Russians who could prove any Jewish origin to Israel during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent chaos and poverty of the Yeltsin era. There were very few committed Zionists among them; the "aliyah" to Israel was seen as a way to escape the Russian catastrophe and to obtain a western passport and prosperity. Israel saw this huge jump in their population made up of highly educated and cultured "Europeans", in contrast to the Moroccan, Yemenite and Ethiopian Jews, as an enormous blessing. The blessing turns out to be quite mixed. Now, while Israel is in constant danger and Russia's economy is beginning to prosper, many are having second thoughts. It could be highly demoralizing to Israeli society in general if the Russians start to return to Russia in sizable numbers: a negation of the whole myth of return. DS

45% of former USSR immigrant students do not see future in Israel - Haaretz
Abstract: Some 45 percent of high school students who immigrated from the former Soviet Union do not believe they have a future in Israel, according to the preliminary results of a new study due to be published in a few months. Only 65 percent would define themselves as Israeli, the study found. However, 88 percent would accept a hyphenated definition, such as Israeli-Russian.(...) Some 30 percent of the respondents said Israelis could teach them nothing, while 40 percent saw no need to study Jewish tradition or the Bible. Some 82 percent saw nothing worth learning from in Israeli culture, and 90 percent felt similarly about Israeli behavior. The study also found that the longer they were in Israel, the more likely the students were to define themselves as mehagrim (migrants) rather than olim (immigrants, but with the connotation of "to a better place"). Thus, after three years here, 68.6 percent defined themselves as olim, while after six years, only 23.6 percent did so. READ IT ALL

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