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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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