Immigrant youth in identity crisis


Two-thirds of Russian-speaking immigrant youth in Israel feel no national identity.

According to a study released Tuesday by Israel’s Anti-Drug Authority, 66 percent of immigrants aged 12 to 18 from the countries of the former Soviet Union identify neither with their native lands nor the Jewish homeland.

The study further found that drug use and related criminal activity is far more common among young members of the biggest immigrant community in Israel.

Thirty-five percent of immigrant youth use illegal drugs, compared to 10 percent among their native Israeli counterparts. While 49 percent of young native Israelis drink alcohol regularly, the figure is 84 percent among immigrants.

The Anti-Drug Authority found that about 80 percent of Russian-speaking immigrant youth who use drugs have also committed crimes of theft or violence to fund their habit.

Israeli scrutiny on immigrant absorption has intensified amid allegations that a group of recent arrivals from the former Soviet Union formed a neo-Nazi cell and went on a spree of hate crimes.

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