Владимир (Зеэв) Ханин. Израильская диаспора в Украине: структура, динамика и идентичность

The Israeli Diaspora in Ukraine: Structure, Dynamics, and Identity

By Vladimir (Ze'ev) Khanin

(Bar-Ilan University, Ariel University in Samaria)

Source: Judaica Ukrainica 3 (2014): 81-104

Publication date: December 1, 2014

Publication type: article

Language: Russian

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Abstract

Transnational Israeli Diaspora (the term first suggested by Steven Gold in 2002) became a visible phenomenon since the late 1970s. The decisive majority of Israelis who live abroad are concentrated in in the North America and Western Europe, but in the recent years also in some countries of the former USSR, including Ukraine. The number of Israeli passport holders and their family members who currently live or spend a substantial part of their tine in Ukraine is estimated between 15 to 22 thousand persons. This article, which was aimed to define the identity, structure, social and demographic dynamics, and models of identification with Israel and Ukraine of this group, is based on two rounds of comprehensive opinion poll of “Ukrainian Israelis.” The study, which was the first, and to the best of our knowledge, still remains the only academic research of this group, was jointly conducted by experts of Israeli Bar-Ilan University and National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy” in early 2009 and late 2011, respectively, in nine big cities of Ukraine. In the course of the study we identified 6 groups of Israeli immigrants in Ukraine whose motivations and migration dynamics was compared with their counterparts in Russia. Namely, “re-immigrants” or “returnees”; “reciprocal” or “transnational” migrants; labor migrants; envoys of various Israeli and Jewish international organizations as well as private business structures; “economic refugees”; and those who came (back) to the FSU due to various personal reasons. Our conclusion is that the predominant majority of this people came to Ukraine motivated by economic, professional advancement family and other “pull” reasons; they enjoy a strong Jewish identity and demonstrate a high level of identification with Israel but also have a very positive view of Ukraine. The question of their return to Israel or stay in Ukraine would be much more a subject of economic and political situation in their “new-old” home country, than anything else.

 

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DOI 10.14653/ju.2014.05