chapter  3
20 Pages

Jewish immigration to Palestine-Israel and the waves of immigration from Russia and the former Soviet Union

A background
WithMajid Ibrahim Al-Haj

This chapter discusses the background of the Jewish community of the former Soviet Union, the successive waves of immigration from this community, and the special characteristics of the 1990s immigrants as compared to other waves of immigration to Israel. According to the Soviet census of 1989, the Jewish population of the USSR numbered 1,480,000, based on the aforementioned formal Soviet definition of a Jew as the child of two Jewish parents. The official policy toward Jews in the Soviet Union changed substantially during the decades of the country’s existence, starting with the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. Moki Tzur estimates that some 35,000 immigrants came to Palestine in the second wave of immigration between 1904 and 1914. It included about 5,000 pioneers who were inflamed ideologically and carried with them the idea of the “Zionist revolution". By the end of 2016, the number of Ethiopians in Israel was 144,100; of them 85,500 were born in Ethiopia and 58,600 were Israeli born.