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Friday, March 28, 2014

French is The "New Russian" on The Streets of Israel

When the two large Russian aliyot to Israel were new we'd hear a lot of Russian in the streets, buses, offices, stores and clinics in Israel. But now most immigrants from the FSU (former Soviet Union) use a lot of Hebrew or are answered in Hebrew by the younger generations, and the Russian language no longer stands out.

Nowadays I hear an awful lot of French in  the streets, buses, offices, stores, clinics etc. Israeli history, sociology has been described as continual waves of immigrants. The more veteran ones are replaced by newer waves. Each wave has its own stories and needs. And each one thinks the newer ones got a better deal.

There's a classic Israeli film and jokes about how each wave of immigrants are resentful and discriminate against the newer ones.
A classic skit from the 70's where Arik Einstein and Uri Zohar play all the roles. English Subtitles. 

It's a parody saying the Israelis are inpatient towards the new Olim. But 5 minutes after the new Olim came to Israel, they see themselves as Israelis, and act the same 

The majority of Ethiopian immigrants, due to their color, are noticed visually even before being heard. They tend to speak so quietly. Bnai Menashe, who have come in smaller numbers, are also pretty silent and aren't as scattered around. I see them in Ofra, Beit El and shopping in Sha'ar Binyamin.

There was also a lot of resentment incomprehension when the American immigration was large in the post-1967 Six Days War euphoria. There was total amazement by many Israelis who couldn't understand how we Americans could have left America which has always been seen as a magic place, wealthy, easy living and easy money. To make it worse more veteran Israelis would misunderstand the regulations of that time concerning all sorts of tax free/reduced items, including cars, and insist that we got them for free.

But I'll never forget how moved the El Al flight crew was by the Americans making aliyah during the Second Lebanon War. I accompanied the Nefesh B'Nefesh flight as a journalist.

Photo I took on that NBN flight

Recent French immigrants are understood by many Israelis as escaping terrible, violent antisemitism.
Speaking on camera a day after his assault, the victim  a 59-year-old Jewish teacher only identified as David said he was attacked by three North African “Maghreb men” at 10 p.m. on March 20 after leaving a kosher restaurant in Rue Manin, Paris, and making his way to a subway station.
“They started to curse me out: ‘dirty Jew,’ ‘death to the Jews,’ ‘son of a b***,’ etc. Then they started to beat me up,” David says in the clip before breaking down in tears. “I was hit on my face, I got my nose fractured… And then one of them took something out of his pocket, I thought it was a knife… It was a marker… And this is what they did to me (showing his chest), a swastika as they were screaming ‘dirty Jew.’ ”
There has been a lot of coverage of French antisemitic attacks in the media, including the one on the Jewish school in Toulouse.
There has been a marked increase in the number of French Jews who have moved to Israel since the killings two years ago, from fewer than 2,000 in 2012 to more than 3,000 last year.
President Moshe Kantor of the European Jewish Congress, in a statement on Wednesday, commended the French authorities for their efforts to curb anti-Semitism and urged officials to “preempt the next murders by continuing to invest in education, law enforcement against those who preach hate and incitement, and to combat the extremists.”
The SPCJ, the security unit of the French Jewish community, says the murders triggered a wave of 90 anti-Semitic incidents in the subsequent 10 days.
Two years after the most traumatic Islamic terrorist attack on its territory, France continues to remember the killings in Toulouse. French websites and France 2 television reported Wednesday’s two ceremonies.
On March 19, 2012 the French-Algerian Merah shot and killed three Jewish children and the father of two of them at the entrance to the Ohr Torah school in Toulouse.
An English-speaking friend who made aliyah at the time of the large Russian aliyah finished ulpan (intensive Hebrew-language classes) with a Russian accent. Now, no doubt, many olim chadashim new immigrants from all over the world pick up Hebrew with a French accent.

The big question is:
From where will the next wave of immigrants come?


Anonymous said...

Loved the video. Laughed a lot.

Batya Medad said...

They worked together brilliantly and actually have mutual grandchildren, bli eyin haraa.