Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Can People, Cultures, Societies Really Change?

As you know, I'm very doubtful about the chances of Israel having anything resembling true peace with the Arabs.  The hate, violence, antidemocratic culture and values are too ingrained in the minds and hearts of the Arabs in the Middle-East.  I'm a realist, a pragmatist and yes, also a victim of Arab terrorism.

The recent attempt of the United States to turn Iraq into a western-style democracy would be humorous if it wasn't such a tragic, dangerous and violent situation.  What can I say besides, "I told you so."  It's all so obvious and predictable.

It will take many generations and determination by the Iraqis (and other Arabs here) themselves to change their mind-sets, values and ways of doing things.

There's an interesting article in The New York Times and its International Herald Tribune about how Bill Keller followed a number of families in Moscow from the end of the USSR until today, Putin's Children.  These families were given a chance for a new life and new home, sharing the construction and building their own apartment house.  The results, where they are today, don't surprise me.

I know many former residents/citizens of the USSR who made aliyah to Israel.  They came with nothing other than determination to succeed, and succeed they did.  After barely twenty years, two decades here in Israel, most live on a much higher standard of living than I do.  Their main aim was to improve their lives and their children's lives and they certainly did.  They learned how to work the system better than I or even my children can ever know.

Some also had aims besides the materialistic ones.  Those who live here in Shiloh enjoy its spiritual benefits as Torah observant Jews.  I could easily see parallels, similarities in the stories Keller tells in his article with the olim immigrants who came here.

One thing for sure is that no other immigrant group succeeded to advance more quickly in every aspect of Israeli society than those from the FSU, whether academic, cultural, financial, political, religious and more.


Anonymous said...

the integration of the russian olim is one of the unsung miracles of israel.
i only hope that with a little more time govt telephones will not have a 'for russian press 1' option...

Batya said...

The secret is based on two things, their motivation and their hard work.