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New Directions in Anthropology
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The Great Immigration
Russian Jews in Israel
With a Preface by Emanuel Marx
256 pages, 8 photos, 7 tables, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-968-0 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (November 1998)
"An interesting and informative book ... that provides many fresh political, social, economic and ethnographic insights ... Many data are well-documented and some insights are innovative and well-considered." · Shofar
"A unique and insightful study of ethnic mobilization." · Emanuel Marx, Tel-Aviv University
More than 750,000 Russian Jews arrived in Israel between 1988 and 1996. However, this Great Immigration, as it has been called, has gone largely unnoticed in Israeli public life. Information about this significant event has been sketchy and largely characterized by stereotypes and simplistic generalizations. Based on a number of case studies, this book offers the first in-depth analysis of the life of the new Russian-Jewish immigrants and of the interaction between them and other Israeli citizens. The author explores the peculiar set of problems that the immigrants from the former Soviet Union have been facing and shows how the newcomers, by sheer number, were able to exploit their skills and capacity for political mobilization, to resist bureaucratic control and cultural assimilation. Adaptation did take place but resulted in new institutions and formations of class and leadership. The integration of such vast numbers of immigrants over a relatively short period is a considerable challenge for a society by any standards, but must certainly be considered a unique phenomenon for a relatively small country such as Israel.
Dina Siegel, originally from Kishinev in the former Soviet Union, now lives in the Netherlands. She received her MA in Sociology and Social Anthropology from Tel-Aviv University and her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the Free University Amsterdam to which she is affiliated.