Friday, April 29, 2005

Jews leaving Israel for Russia

Jeremy Page:

LOOKING out from his sixteenth-floor office in a Moscow skyscraper, Arsen Revazov can hardly believe that this is a country where it was once illegal to learn Hebrew or celebrate Passover.

He emigrated to Israel 15 years ago — one of a million Jews who fled the Soviet Union to escape institutionalised anti-Semitism and economic stagnation. But today he is back in Moscow — with his wife and two children — living an openly Jewish life and running an advertising business.

“I just realised that there were so many more opportunities in Russia than in Israel. It is like the difference between New York and Arizona,” Mr Revazov, 38, told The Times. “Almost all my friends in Israel have come back, too.”

An estimated 100,000 Jews have returned to Russia in the past few years, sparking a dramatic renaissance of Jewish life in a country with a long history of anti-Semitism.

President Putin will cement Russia’s new relationship with its Jewish community today when he begins the first visit to Israel by a Soviet or Russian leader.

“This sends a message to the world that the Moscow-Arab coalition is over,” Berl Lazar, one of Russia’s two chief rabbis, said. “It’s eerie that it is happening at Passover. Here, during our holiday, the Russian President is visiting the Holy Land.”

The Soviet Union was one of the first states to recognise Israel in 1948, but later severed ties and backed Arab regimes to balance US support for Jerusalem.

Relations were reopened in 1987, when President Gorbachev allowed Soviet Jews to emigrate. Roughly one in four Israelis is now of Russian origin.

Ironically, this is probably great news for the Palestinians since the more Jews that move to Russia the more Israel's demographics will shift in favor of the Arabs.

6 Comments:

At 1:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting.

I think there is little risk of a demographic shift changing the reality of 'the Jewish state', and even less of a chance the return of some Russian Jews will be of any benefit to Palestinians. Unless they (Russian Jews) happen to be disproportionately militantly Zionist, which I have no idea about.

Scharansky is probably the best known emigre; my impression is that he is a Zionist, but moderate.

 
At 3:46 PM, Blogger Adam Lawson said...

But the Arabs have a higher birth rate than the Jews which means that the demographics are already working against them.

 
At 7:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the net of Jewish immigration to/emigration from Israel?

Per this link:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4504907.stm

Sharansky has resigned over the Gaza pullback. Which I guess on further consideration I would not call an especially moderate thing to do.

 
At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many if not most Russian Jews are militantly Zionist...most likely, however, these are not the ones who are leaving.

One can assume that the emigrants are also more likely to be of partial non-Jewish descent, although I have seen no statistics on this.

 
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At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Rodger said...

It can't truly work, I think this way.
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