Political behavior and the activation of ethnic boundaries
This chapter discusses ethnic mobilization and political organization among the Russian immigrants. It analyses the main trends in their political behavior in the national Knesset elections, from the arrival of the first wave in the early 1990s up to the recent elections in 2015. The chapter focuses on the main factors underlying the voting behavior of Soviet immigrants and the new phenomenon of Russian parties. As a result of the aforementioned change, in 2003, the power of Russian parties began to decline. Yisrael Beiteinu joined the National Union party —a coalition of religious rightist parties. In the 2009 Knesset elections, Yisrael Beiteinu was the only party with a large number of Russian candidates. A comparison between the immigrant voting patterns in the 1999 elections and in the 2009 elections revealed similar political behavior as far as ethnic voting is concerned. Despite a slight decrease in the support for ethnic-Russian parties, these parties received the highest percentage of Russian immigrant votes.