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Immigrants from Ex-soviet Union Feel Like Outsiders, Survey Shows

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Most new immigrants from the former Soviet Union feel like outsiders in Israeli society, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by a research firm for the Jewish Agency, questioned almost 800 adults, half of whom came to Israel in 1991 and half in 1992.

Eighty-two percent of the immigrants said they would like to feel that they are part of Israeli society, but only 8 percent report feeling this way. Sixty percent said they feel like outsiders.

Most of those who reported feeling integrated into Israeli society were those who spoke Hebrew or were students. The immigrants said they mixed socially almost exclusively with other immigrants from their countries of origin.

A full 77 percent of the 1992 arrivals reported they had never or very seldom mixed socially with veteran Israelis. That number dropped to 61 percent among those who came the year before.

Absorption Minister Yair Tsaban said in a recent interview that he was aware of the problem of immigrants’ alienation as well as some resentment of the immigrants by veteran Israelis. And though he declined to give specifics, he said he was planning to launch an initiative in the spring that would address the problem and “renew the spirit of absorption in society,” which has seen a “certain erosion.”

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