German-speaking Jews arrived in Palestine in vast numbers from 1933 onwards. They are not Olim (ascenders, Jewish immigrants to Palestine/Israel) in the classical, Zionistic sense but emigrated out of necessity from Europe. Their history in Europe, and their arrival in Palestine reflect a particular integration into the nascent Jewish society, and resulted in a pronounced particularism that was transmitted across generations. To understand the interdependence of self-definition and superimposed ascription within a society that aims at absorbing immigrants, this paper chronicles the different definitions of Germanness amongst three generations of Yekkes (German-speaking Jews) in Palestine, later Israel, by focusing on community building, familial tradition, and everyday praxes of expressing Germanness.
The present study focuses on differential modes of economic incorporation and economic success of highly skilled immigrants in Israel. Data were obtained from the 2009–2011 Labor Force and Income Surveys. The analysis pertains to recent immigrants aged 25–64 years who attained academic education prior to migration. Three major geo-cultural groups of immigrants are compared with Israeli-born. The groups are as follows: Europe and the Americas, the Former Soviet Union, and Asia and Africa. The multivariate analysis (conducted separately for men and women) reveals significant differences across geo-cultural groups in labour-market performance (i.e. economic participation) and in economic outcomes (i.e. attainment of professional occupation, occupational status, and earnings). An ethnic hierarchy is observed with Israeli-born at the top, followed by immigrants from Europe and the Americas; the groups of immigrants from the Former Soviet Union and from Asia or Africa are placed at the bottom of the hierarchy. Although all high-skilled immigrants are disadvantaged when compared with Israeli-born, all tend to improve their labour-market status with the passage of time in the country. However, only immigrants from Europe and the Americas are able to reach economic assimilation with high-skilled Israeli-born. Asian–African immigrants and immigrants from the Former Soviet Union are less successful in converting skills into economic success; they remain economically disadvantaged even after 20 years of residence. The impact of geo-cultural origin on differential ability of immigrants to transmit credentials from one country to another is discussed.
This paper focuses on the process of linguistic assimilation among post-1990 immigrants arriving in Israel under the Law of Return. We analyse levels of Hebrew proficiency among four immigrant groups (Ethiopia, Former Soviet Union [FSU], Middle Eastern and North African countries [MENA]) and countries in Europe and America [EUAM]) and by language of origin (Amharic, Russian, Spanish, English and French). The analysis is based on a data-set collected by the Central Bureau of Statistics: the post-1990 Immigrant Survey. Controlling for all relevant factors, the data reveal substantial differences across origin groups: immigrants of MENA and EUAM countries have higher probabilities of reporting the highest level of command of the language than their FSU and Ethiopian counterparts. Speakers of Spanish and French attain higher levels of Hebrew proficiency than speakers of Russian, English and Amharic. Apparently, the very existence of a large and residentially concentrated ethnic or linguistic community (as is the case for Ethiopian and FSU immigrants) becomes a potential disincentive for improving their Hebrew skills. The fact that English is a lingua franca understood and prized in Israel explains the slow process of English speakers’ language acquisition. The findings are discussed in light of existing theories of linguistic assimilation.