Former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shakes hands with new Russian immigrants on their flight from Russia to Israel, on April 27, 1994. (Photo: Avi Ohayon)

Who are Russian-speaking Israelis?

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Beginning in 1990, following the initial collapse of the Soviet Union, more than one million Russians immigrated to Israel within 10 years. To put this in perspective, Israel’s population at the start of this wave (in 1990) was about 5 million people, so this was an enormous aliyah. Why did this happen and how did it change Israeli society?

How the Russian aliyah happened

The exodus began with Natan Sharansky’s arrival in Israel in 1986. Sharansky was born in Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union). The Jewish community there was facing ...

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