The Great Immigration: Russian Jews in Israel

By Dina Siegel | Go to book overview

1. RUSSIAN JEWISH IMMIGRATION TO ISRAEL IN ITS HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
Ils n'étaient pas contents, là où ils étaient?
On n'est jamais content là où l'on est, dit l'aiguilleur.

Antoine de Saint Exupery, Le Petit Prince1

T WO main stages are involved in the process of shaping a new social identity of the Russian Jews: emigration from the former Soviet Union and arrival in Israel. A short historical background is necessary in order to clarify some taken-for-granted terms and conceptions connected to these events. Some important issues connected with the Russian Jewish emigration from the former Soviet Union will be presented here. It is not possible even to begin to know people without first gaining some knowledge of their background. It is also not possible to understand sociological phenomena such as migration, community building and identity forging without knowing the past of the people involved.

For years the image of the Russian Jew, fighting for his national rights in Soviet jails and labour camps, prevailed in the literature on Soviet Jewry. The stereotype of the 'Jewish martyr' in the Soviet Union contradicted the officially propagated image of the assimilated citizen of Jewish nationality. Opportunities of studying the real situation of the Jewish life in the Soviet Union were very restricted. In this chapter the facts are presented as remembered and interpreted by Russian Jewish immigrants in Israel.

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The Great Immigration: Russian Jews in Israel
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations viii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • List of Abbreviations xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • 1- Russian Jewish Immigration to Israel In Its Historical Perspective 1
  • 2- the Russian Jewish Community -- Myth And Reality 23
  • 3- the Creation Of a ' Public Problem' 73
  • 4- the Relationship With Other Ethnic Groups 116
  • 5 - Political Absorption 143
  • 6. Conclusions 189
  • Epilogue 195
  • Appendices 197
  • Glossary 205
  • Bibliography 207
  • Index 211
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