The Great Immigration: Russian Jews in Israel

By Dina Siegel | Go to book overview

EPILOGUE

D ealing with a subject such as the dynamics of Russian Jewish life in Israel since the beginning of the Great Immigration, it was extremely difficult to limit myself to a specific date at which the field work would be finished. Developments in Israel are very rapid. Every time I returned to the country I saw changes in employment of new immigrants, in the economic and social situation. Especially in the political area, each development seemed to me very important for analysis and clarification of more and more social processes, which took place either in 'Russian' circles, or in the general context of Israeli society. But eventually I had to stop my observations and start writing.

However, one very important event took place after this point. This event is especially significant, because it could mark a culmination of the whole process of integration of Russian Jews in Israeli life. This was the general election which took place on 29 May 1996.

The showing of the Russian Jews in the general elections created a major surprise. Not only was Israel in Aliya the first 'Russian' party to pass the Knesset threshold, but it was the first immigrant party ever to gain seven seats, becoming the fifth largest party in the Knesset. A few weeks later the party joined the government, with Nathan Scharansky as the Minister of Industry and Trade, and Yuli Edelstein as the Minister of Absorption. Without their support the Likud Party and a newly elected Prime Minister Netanyahu would have been unable to form a coalition with a majority in the Knesset. This was a spectacular success, quite unexpected by most Israelis. Up to the day before the election no one knew for which party the 'Russians' would vote. And the 'Russians' voted for their own party and for their own representatives.

-195-

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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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