Aliyah and Identity in Israeli-Russian Literature
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The mass migration of almost a million Russian speakers to Israel following the collapse of the Soviet Union, referred to as the Great Aliyah, marked a significant turning point in the history of Zionism. Unlike in previous waves of migration, the immigrants of the Great Aliyah defied assimilatory pressures and used the strength of their demography to build a Russian-language cultural enclave, asserting their unique identity at the expense of a speedier integration into the Israeli mainstream. This important migrant group forced the Israeli state to adopt a multiculturalist model at the expense of its traditional melting pot approach to integration. The Great Aliyah spawned a vibrant Russian-language cultural scene in Israel, and created the new literary genre of Israeli-Russian fiction. This paper seeks to examine this phenomenon, with particular focus on Israeli-Russian notions of identity, through an analysis of the work of two prominent writers: Dina Rubina, who publishes in Russian, and Ola Groisman, who publishes in Hebrew.