“Russians”, Jews, Israelis? The Adaptation of Russian-Speaking Immigrants in Israel through the Eyes of Their Children
Keywords:migration, motives for migration, Israel, USSR, integration, sociocultural identification, first generation of immigrants, cultural values, concept of “melting pot”
The social and cultural integration of immigrants from the former Soviet Union to Israel over the last thirty years has received wide attention. To become a part of Israeli society, these immigrants concurrently tried to preserve and use the Russian language, their cultural identity and worldview, while experiencing conflicts with the Israeli establishment, which demands a complete change to Israeli identity. This study was carried out between 2016 and 2019 and examines aspects influencing the integration of newcomers: immigration motives, age at immigration, knowledge and usage of Hebrew, professional training, satisfaction with living standards and work conditions, inclusion in Israeli society and culture, social contacts and lifestyle changes concerning traditions, etc. The peculiarity of the study is that it involves immigrants’ children (20–30 years old), and not the immigrants themselves. This second generation’s viewpoint enabled the author to evaluate the success of the integration of former Soviet Union immigrants based on the view of young people who have grown up in and been shaped by Israeli reality. The study confirms that social and cultural bonding in Israel secures the success of adaptation and integration in a new society and plays an important role in identity formation among first-generation immigrants. Additional factors that increase the level of adaptation are satisfaction with working conditions and property ownership, indicating the family’s material stability. Further analysis of the results, however, supports that actively using and preserving the languages and cultures from both the countries of departure and destination in the process of adaptation is the optimal model of cultural integration for immigrants.
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