Russian Jews in Israel
Total population
900,000 (core)[1] 1,544,000 (enlarged)
Regions with significant populations
Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and many other places
Hebrew, Russian language
mostly Secular Judaism[2]

Russian Jews in Israel are immigrants and descendants of the immigrants of the Russian Jewish communities, who now reside within the State of Israel. They were around 900,000 in 2007.[1] This refers to all post-Soviet Jewish diaspora groups, not only Russian Jews, but also Mountain Jews, Crimean Karaites, Krymchaks, Bukharan Jews, and Georgian Jews.[3]

Immigration history

Main articles: 1970s Soviet Union aliyah and 1990s post-Soviet aliyah

Year TFR
2000 1.544
1999 1.612
1998 1.632
1997 1.723
1996 1.743
1995 1.731
1994 1.756
1993 1.707
1992 1.604
1991 1.398
1990 1.390

The largest number of Russian Jews now live in Israel. Israel is home to a core Russian-Jewish population of 900,000, and an enlarged population of 1,544,000 (including halakhically non-Jewish members of Jewish households, but excluding those who reside in Israel illegally).[4][failed verification] The Aliyah in the 1990s accounts for 85–90% of this population.

The population growth rate for Former Soviet Union (FSU) immigrants were among the lowest for any Israeli groups, with a fertility rate of 1.70 and natural increase of just +0.5% per year.[5] The increase in Jewish birth rate in Israel during the 2000–2007 period was partly due to the increasing birth rate among the FSU immigrants, who now form 20% of the Jewish population of Israel.[6][7] 96.5% of the enlarged Russian Jewish population in Israel is either Jewish or non-religious, while 3.5% (35,000) belongs to other religions (mostly Christians) and about 10,000 so-called "messianic Jews".[8]

The Total Fertility Rate for FSU immigrants in Israel is given in the table below. The TFR increased with time, peaking in 1997, then slightly decreased after that, and then again increased after 2000.[5]

In 1999, about 1,037,000 FSU immigrants lived in Israel, of whom about 738,900 immigrated after 1989.[9][10] The second largest ethnic group (Moroccans) numbered just 1,000,000. From 2000–2006, 142,638 FSU immigrants moved to Israel. While 70,000 of them emigrated from Israel to countries like the U.S. and Canada, bringing the total population to 1,150,000 by 2007 January (excluding illegals).[1] The natural increase was around 0.3% in late 1990s. For example 2,456 in 1996 (7,463 births to 5,007 deaths), 2,819 in 1997 (8,214 to 5,395), 2,959 in 1998 (8,926 to 5,967) and 2,970 in 1999 (9,282 to 6,312). In 1999, the natural growth was +0.385%. (Figures only for FSU immigrants moved in after 1989).[11]

An estimated 45,000 illegal immigrants from the Former Soviet Union lived in Israel during the end of 2010, but it is not clear how many of them are actually Jews.[12]

Currently, Russia has the highest rate of aliyah to Israel among any other country. In 2013, 7,520 people, nearly 40% of all olim, immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union.[13][14]

As of 2018, USSR Jews are estimated to be 12.4% of the Israeli population.[15]

Political history

Soviet flag on a building in Hadar HaCarmel, a Haifa district known for its large Russian Jewish population

Russian Jews have been very dominant in Israeli politics, due to large number of Russian Jews occupied in the official positions of Israeli Government. Former Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was born in former Soviet Union's Moldova.[16] Many Russian Jews maintain their ties with Russia, and play an important role in the relationship between Russia and Israel.


Russian-speaking Jews in Israel include an enlarged population of 1,544,000, if including halakhically non-Jewish members of Jewish households. 96.5% of the enlarged Russian Jewish population in Israel is either Jewish or non-religious, while 3.5% (35,000) belong to other religions (mostly Christianity) and about 10,000 identifying as Messianic Jews separate from Jewish Christians.[17]

Core Jewish population

Soviet and Russian-origin Jews form a core population of around 900,000 in Israel, as of 2007.[1]

Mixed families

Main article: Russians in Israel

As of 2003, approximately 300,000 halakhically non-Jewish members of Jewish households lived in Israel.[4]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Monthly Bulletin of Statistics". Retrieved 2011-03-22.
  2. ^ "Israeli Jews from the former Soviet Union are more secular, less religiously observant". Pew Research Center. 30 March 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2024.
  3. ^ "Дан Шапира: "Русские" в Израиле - терминологический словарь". The Jewish Agency for Israel. 15 June 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2024.
  4. ^ a b Altschul, Mark J. (April 21, 2003). "Israel's Law of Return and the debate of altering, repealing, or maintaining its present language" (PDF). University of Illinois Law Review.
  5. ^ a b "Fertility behaviour of recent immigrants to Israel: A comparative analysis of immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-22.
  6. ^ Wayne State University Press – Jewish Studies: – Page 1 Archived 2008-09-12 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Jewish Zionist Education" (PDF). 2005-05-15. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2011-03-22.
  8. ^ "Monthly Bulletin of Statistics". Retrieved 2011-03-22.
  9. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  10. ^ "IMMIGRANT POPULATION FROM USSR (FORMER)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2007-10-28.
  11. ^ "Mmigrant Population From The Former Ussr". Archived from the original on 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  12. ^ Friedman, Ron (2011-01-18). "Oz unit far from hitting deportation target for illegals". Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  13. ^ "Aliyah on the Rise: 19,200 New Immigrants Arrive in Israel in 2013". Algemeiner. December 30, 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  14. ^ "Immigration to Israel Rises by 7% — Led by French". Forward. December 29, 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  15. ^ Lewin-Epstein, Noah. "Ethnic origin and identity in the Jewish population of Israel" (PDF). Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  16. ^ "Avigdor Lieberman". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2022-07-27.
  17. ^ "Monthly Bulletin of Statistics". Archived from the original on October 21, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2011.