In the summer of 1989, I left my home in Jerusalem for a reporting assignment in Europe, covering the fall of Communism from Warsaw to Berlin to Prague. A year later, I returned to a different Israel. In the supermarket there were strange cheeses and yogurt drinks labeled with Cyrillic writing, and unimagined, new products like frozen blueberries and cherries. On the streets, young musicians played cello and old men with gold teeth played accordion. The country suddenly felt as though it had become both less intimate and more claustrophobic: my daughter’s first-grade class was packed with 40 children to accommodate the immigrant influx.
How One Million Russian Immigrants Revitalized Israel
At the end of the 1980s, Israel was barely managing its finances and its security. Then a substantial part of the professional and cultural elite of a superpower showed up.