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How to be Israeli

by: Natasha Mozgovaya and Zvi Zinger, Ynetnews - Last updated: 2005-06-30



A survey commissioned by the Jewish Agency to examine the attitude of veteran Israelis to new immigrants revealed some curious findings when it came to offering advice to newcomers who wish to become "more Israeli."

While 92 percent of poll respondents said learning Hebrew was a must and 86 percent stressed the importance of serving in the IDF, 18 percent said eating hummus was the way to go.

On another front, although 15 years have passed since the beginning of the large immigration wave from the former Soviet Union, many Israelis still encounter immigrants from Russia and the Soviet republics mostly in the supermarket. Overall, 54 percent of respondents said most Russians they meet are supermarket cashiers.

Meanwhile, the survey revealed veteran Israelis appreciate newcomers when it comes to certain fields. Overall, 32 percent of respondents said new immigrants excel in science and technology, 17 percent said they excel in sports, and 15 percent were impressed by the newcomers’ contribution when it comes to culture.
The survey also found that getting rid of the “new immigrant” label can take a long time. About 20 percent of respondents said the label should be removed only after a new arrival has lived in Israel for 10 years, but 28 percent said one year was enough. Meanwhile, 50 percent of respondents said three years need to pass before the label no longer applies.

On a more encouraging note, 96 percent of respondents said veteran Israelis should help new immigrants, with 75 percent saying they are willing to volunteer their time and offer a helping hand.

Reproduced with permission and copyright: Ynetnews