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Putin’s Aliyah: Russian Jews leave Israel

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (not seen) hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Moscow, Russia on March 28, 2017. ( Sefa Karacan - Anadolu Agency )

Many of the Russian-Jews, who arrived to the Jewish State in the early 1990s, left Israel in recent years, heading back to their home country, or seeking new pastures, Israel’s Haaretz reported yesterday.

Liza Rozovsky, a Russian-Jewish who came to Israel as part of the main migration wave, has conducted several interviews with Russians in Israel who migrated to the Jewish state in the past decade but are now either returning to Russia or seeking new migrations opportunities, in an attempt to understand the reasons behind abandoning Israel and retuning to Russia. She has named them as “Putin’s aliyah.”

“On the rare occasions I have the opportunity to meet and talk with them, I can’t shake the feeling that they’re better dressed than I am, more educated than I am and have more natural manners than I do,” Rozovsky said, referring to the people of “Putin’s aliyah.”

“Whether due to the inevitability of circumstances or a spirit forged in the era of the Cold War and Iron Curtain, emigration for us was a decision from which there was no turning back,” one of the Russian Jews, who immigrated to Israel after the year 2000, said in an interview with Rozovsky, as quoted by Haaretz.

According to Rozovsky, the post-2000 immigrants, especially those who arrived following the failed protest that erupted after the parliamentary elections in 2011 and 2012 – and even more so after the annexation of Crimea and the start of the war in Western Ukraine – saw themselves differently from the outset. Those who could afford it did not give up their jobs and businesses that could be performed remotely at the time, and in effect they never defined themselves as Israelis ”at any price.”

However, other Russian Jews have taken advantage of the broad opportunities that were available to them and have left, while some returned to Russia and others moved on to other foreign countries.

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  • Juan R.

    The Aliyah from Russia has doubled since 2008 when the world economic crisis began. Things got worse In 2014 the Russian ruble lost half of it’s real value because of the drop in oil prices. This meant that savings and real estate also lost half of their real values also. Aliyah surged even more after that. Right now the aliyah from Belarus is also really surging and there is no sign the increase will stop. Ukraine although slower than 2015 is still more than double the pre-crisis level. Last year aliyah from the former Soviet Union was 54% of the total aliyah. And Aliyah from Russia alone was 26% of the total aliyah and was the largest source of aliyah for any country even more than France or Ukraine. Even more than all of western Europe combined. Its understandable that “several people” have moved elsewhere but not significant really. What is significant is that the majority of new immigrants to Israel are Russian speakers. And the economy in the former Soviet Union is still a mess. The average salary in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus is less than in China. Probably you could do some further research.

  • Mike Abramov

    Very interesting. Is the journalist writing this article trying to find some hidden meaning? Israel is a tough country to live in. The constant threat of Arabs ramming cars in to bus stops, brain-washed teenagers stabbing police officers and the constant threat of war takes a very special type of person to endure this every day.

    After the Russian Revolution in 1917, many supporters of the revolution living in the west went back to Russia in the thought that they are returning to a new and exciting opportunity. How sadly wrong they were.

    However, let us look at the surrounding countries. Would you choose to live in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen or Sudan at the moment?

  • A.S.F.

    Yeah, because Russia has always treated Jews so well. Right.

  • Sharleen Targon

    Good riddance from Russia poor Palestine

  • Andrey Markov

    Step by by step Israel transforms to an ordinary Middle East country like Lebanon and Jordan so people leave it for more advanced countries.