Photo: Reuters
Only 12 percent of immigrants are well-adjusted
Photo: Reuters

Immigrant assimilation in Israeli society poor, poll finds

New poll reveals more than half of Sabras see Russian immigration as cause for rising crime rates. Only 12 percent of immigrants consider themselves well-adjusted in Israeli society

A new poll published Monday revealed that some 68 percent of native Israelis (Sabras) think immigration from the former Soviet Union is responsible for the increase in crime rates.


On the other hand, a similar percentage recognized their contribution to Israeli society, in various fields.


The poll, taken by the Marker Watch Institution on behalf of the Berl Katznelson Foundation, painted a gloomy picture of the integration of immigrants in Israeli society, and of the native Israeli's contribution to that integration.


Spanning 446 native Israelis and 440 immigrants from Russia and the former Soviet Union, who've been in Israel since 1989, the poll revealed that 48 percent of Sabras have no Russian-speaking friends at all.


Over half of those asked said they made no effort whatsoever to help immigrants integrate in Israeli society. Native Israelis who chose to do so, were usually those aged 18-24, or those with a higher education.


Only 12 percent of the immigrants participating in the poll – the younger demographic according to surveyors – said they felt they have integrated in Israeli society completely.


Forty-one percent of immigrants felt that there was such a thing as a "cultural ghetto". Some 40 percent said that not only had Israeli culture not influenced them for the better, but their own homeland culture had suffered from it.


Sixty-three percent of those who took part in the poll said they do not see conversion to Judaism as a must for integration in Israeli society.


Yigal Tzahor, manager of the ideological-educational center at the Katzenelson foundation, which commissioned the poll, told Ynet the negative perception native Israelis have of immigrant doesn't surprise him.


He was happy to note that many Israelis recognized the contributions made by immigrant to Israeli society, saying "the younger generation of immigranst seems to blend in society better. I think military service has a lot to do with that.


"The older generation is more protective of their cultural heritage and tend to keep to themselves more," he added.


"This poll shows that the Russian immigration 'tribe' has not found its way into the heart of Israeli society yet," Boris Mafzir, former director-general of the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, told Ynet.


"This (poll) doesn't shine the best light on the social and emotional state of our society."


פרסום ראשון: 06.25.07, 23:51
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