Skip to main content

Russian-Speaking Israelis and How They Changed Israel

51:29December 8, 2020

Thirty years ago, a million Russian-speaking immigrants arrived in Israel. Overnight, they increased Israel’s population by 20 percent—and became one of the largest Russian-speaking communities in the world outside the former Soviet Union. They have changed Israel profoundly. Who are the Russian-speaking Israelis? What did their arrival signify for the country? What was their journey like to becoming Israelis? We discuss these questions with Ksenia Svetlova, Matti Friedman, and Yossi Klein Halevi.

Matti Friedman’s essay Israel’s Russian Wave, Thirty Years Later, and Yossi Klein Halevi’s piece How One Million Russian Immigrants Revitalized Israel appeared in Mosaic in November 2020.

Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the surrounding region though research and exchange.  Read more