The 'Immigrants’ Who Became 'Olim’

The million Russian-speakers who arrived in the 1990s changed this country, but they also were changed by it. Lily Galili, co-author of a new book about their aliyah, experienced something similar, some 30 years earlier.

On a summer night back in 1999, at a political rally at the Jerusalem International Convention Center, journalist Lily Galili encountered a girl of about 8 who had immigrated to Israel as a baby. She was wandering around between thousands of adult Russian speakers from political groups associated with Avigdor Lieberman, who had just been elected to the Knesset as leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party.