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View Diary: Attempted Death of a Democracy - Israel shoots itself.... (395 comments)

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    the FP article is excellent in understanding how the left lost the russians and i found it particularly helpful wrt understanding this community

    The story of 20 years of mutual alienation between the Israeli left and Israeli Russians is many-layered. The great wave of immigration from the disintegrating USSR that began in the 1990's landed in an Israel ruled by a lame-duck Shamir government. When the initial Israeli welcome was quickly replaced by a considerable degree of xenophobia, many immigrants lent their support to Yitzhak Rabin's opposition Labor party, which seemed to offer a break with the  status quo.

    However, the left quickly lost its ground among the immigrants on a number of key points. Members of Rabin's government voiced inflammatory opinions of the Russian community, accusing it of bringing "mafia elements" into Israel and of exploiting its welfare benefits. Additionally, the social housing system in Israel was quickly scrapped by the Rabin government, effectively pushing newcomers into West Bank settlements--all while the same government was openly discussing the possibility of evacuating settlements in peace negotiations. This posed a challenge not only to their physical homes, as Clinton correctly identified, but to the identity they were trying to construct in their adopted--or as the Israeli national ethos goes, rightfully restored--homeland.

    As sectorial parties dedicated to advancing the concerns of the Russian-Israeli community rose, it became apparent that rightist coalitions not only had better chances of winning elections but were also more open to welcoming immigrants into cabinet. On the latter point, only one leftist government, Ehud Barak's, included an immigrant--and only briefly (Sharansky was Minister of the Interior). By contrast, Benjamin Netanyahu's current governing cabinet has four immigrants. Young politicians from the Russian-Israeli community with talent and ambition for influence thus have little incentive to throw their lot with the left.

    if you don't think that's 'journalism' so be it. it's very informative. he comes from the russian community in israel and seems to know a little about it. it is an area i don't know much about and therefore i take my information where i can get it as this community interests me. perhaps if you run into some 'real journalism' about russian israelis you'll share it with us.


    Dmitry Reider is an Israeli journalist whose work has appeared in the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, and the Guardian.

    "As Israel treats Jerusalem, so shall the world treat Israel. As Jerusalem goes, so goes Israel." - B. Burston/Ha'aretz

    by zannie on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 11:05:16 AM PDT

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