[Marxism] Voting with their feet

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Apr 23 09:22:19 MDT 2004


Fewer Come to Israel, And Many Are Leaving
Conflict, Economic Woes Contribute to Decline in Immigration
By John Ward Anderson
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, April 23, 2004; Page A17

JERUSALEM -- Anton Nosik was a 24-year-old physician in Moscow making $8 
a month when the Soviet Union began to collapse in 1990. Suddenly free 
to travel abroad, he packed his bags and went off to see the world, 
eventually settling in Israel -- one of the more than 800,000 Soviet 
Jews who moved here in the 1990s after decades of religious persecution 
under communism.

Today, Nosik is back in Moscow, and so are thousands of other Russian 
Jews who immigrated to Israel, some of them soured by the Jewish state's 
anemic economy, limited job opportunities and dangerous security 
environment. At the same time, statistics show that immigration to 
Israel last year dropped to a 15-year low, which Israeli officials blame 
not only on the economic downturn and continuing violence, but also on 
the smaller reservoir of Jews in the former Soviet republics to draw 
from and a decrease in the flight from persecution by Jews around the 
world.

"I don't think everyone who can succeed elsewhere must abandon their 
success and go to Israel to be unemployed," Nosik said in a telephone 
interview from Moscow, where he heads Russia's largest Internet service 
provider and a thriving Internet news agency, capitalizing on a new 
high-tech career he developed during his seven years in Israel.

Israel is a country built on immigration whose leaders see the 
continuing influx of Jews as vital to its survival. The Palestinian 
population in recent years has grown almost three times faster than the 
Jewish population, statistics show, and without significant numbers of 
new immigrants, Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza could 
outnumber Jews within a decade, threatening Israel's future as a 
democratic, Jewish state.

After a two-year spike in immigration in 1990 and 1991, when about 
375,000 people -- most of them from the Soviet republics -- poured into 
Israel, migration patterns remained fairly stable, with 60,000 to 80,000 
new arrivals each year. Then in 2001, after the start of the Palestinian 
uprising, the number dropped to about 43,000. Last year, immigration 
plunged to 23,200, much of the loss due to a decline in arrivals from 
the former Soviet Union, according to immigration statistics.

Avraham Berkowitz, a rabbi in Moscow who is the executive director of 
the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia and other former Soviet 
republics, claims that a reverse migration is underway between Israel 
and the former Soviet republics, with more Jews now returning than 
moving to Israel -- an assertion denied by Israeli officials. The 
Israeli government does not maintain up-to-date statistics on citizens 
who move away permanently.

But other data reveal a remarkable trend: In the last two years, more 
Jews from the former Soviet Union have immigrated to Germany than to 
Israel, according to German and Israeli statistics.

full: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A34757-2004Apr22.html

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