Hundreds of Jews who migrated from India to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s were settled in Israeli development towns. Ironically, many Indian Jews had left bustling urban centers like Bombay, only to be dropped off in dry, dusty, underdeveloped towns in the Negev desert. This article explores the postmigration experience of first-generation Indian Jewish women migrants settled in the town of Dimona, Israel. Drawing upon extensive ethnographic research and personal narratives, this paper analyzes the ramifications of this migration on the social, economic, linguistic, and cultural identities of these women. Highlighting the challenges faced by them as wives, mothers, and members of a labor force, the article underscores the gendered nature of this experience and its impact on the postaliya lives of these Indian Jewish migrants. The article argues that while Indian Jewish communities have successfully created supportive and associational networks across many development towns, Israeli towns like Dimona, which remain largely frozen in time, have also adversely affected the prospects of the second generation born to these Indian Jewish women who made aliya in the 1960s.
Research on the evolution of immigrant fertility patterns has focused on the expected reduction in fertility among immigrants from high fertility, less developed countries who arrive in relatively low-fertility developed societies. The current research considers a different context in which immigrants from the low-fertility Former Soviet Union arrive in a relatively high-fertility setting in Israel. This research context allows us to test various theories of immigrant fertility, which cannot normally be distinguished empirically. Results from Cox multivariate regressions of parity-specific progression do not support assimilation theory, which would predict an increase in fertility following migration, in this context. We interpret the very low fertility rates of the FSU immigrants in Israel, relative to all relevant comparison groups, in terms of the economic uncertainty and hardship experienced during a difficult transition period by immigrants who have high aspirations for social mobility in their destination society.