45% of Former USSR Immigrant Students Do Not See Future in Israel

Only 65% would define themselves as Israeli; 30% said Israelis could teach them nothing.

Some 45 percent of high school students who immigrated from the former Soviet Union do not believe they have a future in Israel, according to the preliminary results of a new study due to be published in a few months.

Only 65 percent would define themselves as Israeli, the study found. However, 88 percent would accept a hyphenated definition, such as Israeli-Russian.

The survey, conducted over the past two months by the Forum for Immigrant Parents, covered some 300 students in ninth through 12th grades in communities with sizable Russian populations, such as Ashdod, Ramle and Petah Tikva. The preliminary results were presented to a subcommittee of the Knesset Immigration Committee Thurday.

Some 30 percent of the respondents said Israelis could teach them nothing, while 40 percent saw no need to study Jewish tradition or the Bible. Some 82 percent saw nothing worth learning from in Israeli culture, and 90 percent felt similarly about Israeli behavior.

The study also found that the longer they were in Israel, the more likely the students were to define themselves as mehagrim (migrants) rather than olim (immigrants, but with the connotation of "to a better place"). Thus, after three years here, 68.6 percent defined themselves as olim, while after six years, only 23.6 percent did so.

Some 28 percent did not define themselves as Jewish, and 76.1 percent said that Israel systematically violated the rights of non-Jewish immigrants on issues such as marriage and burial.