Libmonster ID: U.S.-1535

One of the most influential communities in Israel in the second half of the 1990s were immigrants from the USSR and post-Soviet states, called "Russians". In May 2005, out of the total population of Israel of 6.9 million people, there were 950,000 "Russians" (about 14%)1, and they make up 16-17% of citizens who have the right to vote [Feldman, 2003, p.279]. It is clear that their vote largely determines the outcome of the election.

V. Hanin's work is devoted to the study of the influence of "Russians" on the Israeli state machine, the formation of political cohesion of the community and differentiation within it. A peer-reviewed essay belongs to a very small number of studies of this kind. The author's merit is an attempt to objectively analyze the processes that took place in the 1990s and early 2000s, despite the absolute difficulty of such an analysis, since "we are not just talking about living people, but, as a rule, personally familiar people and current events that are still in the power and near-power structures, which, although they relate to you directly, but not only the long-range, but also the short-range consequences of which are not at all obvious " (p. 10).

As can be seen from the text, the work on collecting material for this book was started back in 1999. Using a wide source base (periodicals, interviews taken by the author, documents from personal archives, materials from the websites of political parties and public organizations), Khanin characterizes all-both influential and marginal - "Russians" political parties, organizations, and movements. The work is all the more valuable because the author himself belongs to one of the groups of influence - the academic elite of Israel of "Russian" origin, which plays a certain role in decision-making by power structures.

Ethnicity, as V. Khanin quite rightly points out, is an important factor in the functioning of the mechanisms of the Israeli political system. The first ethnic party that emerged during the Yishuv period is considered to be the New Aliyah (Aliyah Hadasha) party, which united immigrants from Germany and Austria [Karmel, 2001, p.868; Geisel, 2001, p. 145]. And the strengthening of the ethnic factor in the political system begins with the emergence of the Black Panther movement (1970-ies). At the same time, "Russian" organizations and movements began to form. In 1972 as a Block


Moscow: Institute for the Study of Israel and the Middle East, 2004, 290 p.

1 http://cursorinfo.co.il/novosti/2005/05/10/population/

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MAARACH with the personal participation of Golda Meir, the Association of Repatriates from the USSR was created (p. 28), and in 1977 - the Union of Veterans of the Second World War.

According to the author, by the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, the formation of "fellow countrymen"-natives of various cities of the USSR, which took place at the initiative of the Government, belongs. Although other authors claim that "Russian" associations and groups of influence began to appear in Israel in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and their informal meetings are attributed to the 1920s and 1930s. Thus, in 1955, the "Association of Immigrants from Minsk and its Environs in Israel" was established [Even-Shoshan, 1985, p. 465: Shavyaleu, 2005; Rubinchyk, 2005].

The main reason why the initiatives of the 1970s and early 1980s did not develop into a political party of" Russian "repatriates, like TAMI, which emerged in 1981 and represented the interests of" eastern " communities, or the Sephardic religious SHAS, which appeared in 1984, was primarily the participation of immigrants from Russia in the creation of the state. "most of the 'historical' Israeli parties "(p. 20). " The generation of natives of Russia-the founders of the Yishuv and the Jewish State, "writes V. Khanin," was probably the only group of local society who did not have to ask themselves what it means for them to 'be an Israeli', because they were still a part of the Yishuv and the Jewish state. for all their" Russianness", they were true Israelis, becoming the creators of most Israeli social institutions, social structures and cultural codes, as well as the local version of the" melting pot" of Jewish diasporas based on Zionist Hebrew culture " (p.20).

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the activity of "Russian" organizations and public associations began to become more active, which, according to V. Khanin, was associated with the following factors: the increase in the number of immigrants from the USSR/CIS in the late 1980s and 1990s, the spread of "multiculturalism" in Israeli society, the adoption of the concept of "multiculturalism" in Israel. In 1996, a new voting system was introduced, as well as the development of the "infrastructure" of the Russian community" in Israel " (p. 27). The latter was largely due to the establishment in 1987 of the Zionist Forum ("Zionist Forum of Jews of the USSR in Israel"), which in the mid-1990s launched an initiative to form new elements of the Israeli political system.

The Israeli political elite realized the special value of the votes of "Russian" voters after the elections to the XIII Knesset in 1992 [Karmel, 2001, vol. 2, p. 896]. Then the repatriates ' support for the Labor Party "became almost decisive."

In fact, independent "Russian" political parties appeared in 1996: the first to emerge was the Yisrael ba-Aliyah party (IBA), formed from the "Movement for Changing National Priorities "Yisrael ba-Aliyah", which was founded in 1995. Vkhanin notes that, despite the long-standing idea of forming an "independent" Russian "party list in Israel," such attempts ended in failure. In 1992, the YES, Tali and Unity repatriate lists failed to pass the electoral barrier.

"Russian" voters were dissatisfied with the degree of attention of the Israeli political elite to the problems of repatriates. However, only in 1995, as V. Khanin points out, this discontent took shape in the community's willingness to support an independent "Russian" party. The author cites the following reasons for the situation that developed in the mid-1990s: first, "an unprecedented campaign of denigration of Aliyah from the CIS, which unfolded with the blessing of state structures in 1992-1996 "(pp. 70-71), and second, a sense of" disdain "of the Israeli political elite for the abilities of" Russians"immigrants and, third, the emergence of leaders with a different system of values than that of the immigrant generation of the 1970s and early 1980s. Thus, the generation of the 1990s had the experience of reviving Jewish life in the USSR during the period of Perestroika.

But in addition to the IBA, which claimed to be the only Russian party to represent the community's interests in government structures, two other parties emerged in 1999 that claimed the same thing in principle: Our Home is Israel (NDI) and Democratic Choice.

Among the reasons for the split of the IBA, which the author names, I think the most important should be considered ideological and personal contradictions in the leadership. There were three groups in the party: "Ministers N. Sharansky and Yu. Edelstein, who controlled the party apparatus; members of the Knesset Yu. Stern and M. Nudelman, who occupied the" right "ideological niche, and the" left "camp of the leader of the parliamentary faction of the IBA R. Bronfman" (p. 78).

page 212


V. Khanin also dwells in detail on the evolution of ideological attitudes, organizational structure, and sources of funding for" Russian " parties in Israel. He emphasizes that "the result of the organizational and ideological evolution of the" Russian "parties of the IB A, NDI and Demvybor was their integration into the all - Israeli movements-Likud, Ihud Leumi (National Unity) and Meretz, respectively." The author notes that "at the same time, each of the parties chose its own model of this integration: "Our Home is Israel" formed the core... the Ihud Leumi bloc, turning its other components - the Moledet and Tkuma parties-into its junior partners; on the contrary, Demvybor became a peripheral part of the Meretz bloc, formally retaining its autonomy; finally, the IBA actually dissolved into the structures of the Likud party, sharing with this party spheres of influence at the level of grassroots organizations"(p. 100).

At the same time, the split of the IBA can also be considered a reflection of the identification patterns of immigrants and the degree of adaptation of the latter. There are three such models: assimilation, integration, or, as it is also called, "integration without acculturation", and isolation. It is not easy to determine exactly what kind of immigrant environment a particular party focused on - the author of the book leaves this question open, although, obviously, it can be argued that at certain stages IBA was a reflection of assimilation, NDI - integration, and Democratic Choice - isolation.

The elite itself is also heterogeneous. First of all, V. Khanin identifies representatives of different waves of immigration who became the "source of formation of the community elite": "professionals" - repatriates of the 1970s, functionaries of Israeli state bodies and political structures, "idealists" - Aliyah of the 1970s-1980s, figures of the Zionist movement in the USSR in the underground, and "pragmatists" - Those who came to Israel in the 1990s, most of whom had no ties to Zionist structures until the second half of the 1980s.

In addition, the "Russian" elite consists of several "subcultural groups aptly designated as" Russian Israelis, "" Russian Jews, "and"Muscovites." The former "recognize themselves as a specific but integral part of the local Jewish community and / or the Israeli national-cultural community as a whole", the latter "cultivate the "cultural and mental" complex "of Russian" Jewry", and the latter "identify themselves with the actual Russian culture" (p.130). It is believed that representatives of the first and second groups adhere to "right - wing" beliefs, the second also has center-right views, and the third has a much higher number of voters for the "left".

The author of the book identifies "functional layers" of the elite representing the interests of the "Russian" community. The" top layer " of the Israeli political community itself "includes about 200 people." As can be understood from the narrative, these are mainly "politicians at the national and regional levels" - members of parliament, members of the government, deputy mayors of cities, as well as "top functionaries of the main "Russian" parties." Analysts and specialists in the field of electoral technologies, officials of "state and quasi-state institutions", authoritative leaders who do not occupy a certain position in political circles, but have great personal connections, cultural figures, leaders of "repatriated public organizations and structures", employees of the "Russian" mass media, etc. also have a certain influence. businessmen.

The author also tries to fix the contradictions that exist within the community, combining them into a number of groups: "socio-demographic and class", "ethno-social and national-cultural", as well as" subethnic, secular-religious and ideological-political", focusing in detail on the last two types.

V. Khanin considers three main subethnic groups of Jews of the former USSR (calling them "civilizational zones"): first, "non-Ashkenazi communities of Central Asia and the Caucasus", and second, " Ashkenazi Jews from the regions annexed by the USSR on the eve of World War II and at the end of it: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bessarabia Eastern Galicia, Western Belarus, Bukovina and Transcarpathia" (p. 184), and, third, "the ethnic territory of the "indigenous" Soviet Ashkenazi Jews who lived in the USSR since its foundation" (p.185). Each of the sub-ethnic groups accounted for 40, 47, and 13% of immigrants in the 1970s and 1980s, respectively. The author describes the differences between these groups of" Russian " repatriates.

A very characteristic feature of the "Russian" community is the "community symbols". V. Khanin attributes the important role of the "Russians" in the "technological revolution" of the late 1990s (p. 142), the establishment of cultural and educational institutions (which the author for some reason calls the "Russians") to the positive ones.-

page 213


et "cultural studies"), such as the MOFET School or the Gesher Theater, as well as the celebration of Victory Day and the Civil New Year - January 1.

An important factor that characterizes any ethnic group in modern society is the satisfaction of the need for communication for the individual belonging to this group. The performance of community political functions helps to facilitate entry into the" foreign " society. This task was intended to be solved by various associations described by the author of the book, grouping them according to certain principles: political organizations divided into "right", "left" and "centrists", and "fraternal unions", "professional associations", "charitable associations", cultural and educational associations, etc. mass media.

In the last chapter of the book, the author analyzes in detail the voting of immigrants from the USSR/CIS in 1992-2003. He notes that "researchers rarely manage not only to accurately predict, but also to adequately explain the voting results of new returnees" (p. 192), since most concepts explaining the electoral behavior of returnees simplify the processes occurring in the community.

Considering several options for the continued existence of the "Russian "" sectoral "policy, V. Khanin concludes that" the only possibility that can be considered is the following:.. it should be excluded-this is the disappearance of the organized "Russian" community from the political and social arena" of Israel (p. 241-242).

The style of V. Khanin's presentation is distinguished by its rigor and at the same time simplicity. The author not only knows well, but also has a keen sense of the nuances of the internal balance of power in political structures and in the establishment environment. Although some of the formulations used in the book may need to be clarified and supplemented, and many of the issues raised need further research, which, in fact, the author points out in his book, V. Hanin's work is undoubtedly very significant, since it reveals important aspects of political processes in Israel. Noteworthy is the description of the "Russian" community, once given in the newspaper "Our Jerusalem", which the author cites: "We did not merge with the people who lived in Israel before our arrival. Rather, the Aliyah of the early 90's formed its own ethnic and cultural layer, superimposed on all previous layers of Israeli society. And because the country is small, not only has it changed us, but we have also changed it" (p. 145). How the" Russians "changed politics in Israel, and Israel changed the" Russians", and tells the reviewed work of V. Khanin.

list of literature

Geisel Z. Political Structures of the State of Israel, Moscow: Institute for the Study of Israel and the Middle East, 2001.

Rubshchyk V. Пра выхадцау з Беларусі і іх суполкі у Ізраілі // Да гісторыі беларускай дыяспары: Матэрыялы конкурсу маладых навукоуцау "Беларускай дыяспары прысвячаецца" (2004) Минск: МГА Згуртаванне беларусау свету "Бацькаушчына". 2005.

Feldman E. "Russian" Israel: between two Poles, Moscow: Market DS, 2003.

Шавялёу Д. Кароткі нарыс гісторыі абшчыны выхадцау з Беларусі у Ізраілі (1946 - 1991) // Да гісторыі беларускай дыяспары: Матэрыялы конкурсу маладых навукоуцау "Беларускай дыяспары прысвячаецца" (2004). Минск: МГА Згуртаванне беларусау свету "Бацькаушчына", 2005.

Carmel A. Everything Political: A Lexicon of Israeli Politics. In 2 vols. Vol. 2. [Lod]: Publishing House "Dvir", 2001 (in Hebrew).

Even-Shoshan Sh. A few words about the "Unification of immigrants from Minsk and its environs in Israel" / / Minsk - city and Mother: History, deeds, people, life. In 2 kn. Kn. 2: Jewry of Minsk from 1917 to the present day. [Jerusalem?]: Kiryat Sefer Publishing House, 1985 (in Hebrew).


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D. L. SHEVELEV, V. KHANIN. "RUSSIANS" AND POWER IN MODERN ISRAEL. FORMATION OF THE COMMUNITY OF IMMIGRANTS FROM THE USSR / CIS AND ITS ROLE IN THE POLITICAL STRUCTURE OF THE COUNTRY AT THE TURN OF THE XX AND XXI CENTURIES // New-York: Libmonster (LIBMONSTER.COM). Updated: 03.07.2024. URL: https://libmonster.com/m/articles/view/V-KHANIN-RUSSIANS-AND-POWER-IN-MODERN-ISRAEL-FORMATION-OF-THE-COMMUNITY-OF-IMMIGRANTS-FROM-THE-USSR-CIS-AND-ITS-ROLE-IN-THE-POLITICAL-STRUCTURE-OF-THE-COUNTRY-AT-THE-TURN-OF-THE-XX-AND-XXI-CENTURIES (date of access: 24.07.2024).

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