Central Europe in the Middle East: The Russian Language in Israel

  • Anna Novikov

Abstract

Zionist thought, both long before the State of Israel was founded and even today, gave Russian culture and language a special significance. Sometimes thought of as exotic, and at times almost metaphysical, Russian was often the cultural framework and native language of the first Zionist Haluzim (pioneers). These pioneers, according to the Israeli narrative, immigrated to Palestine and built the land. Today, Russian is the language spoken by approximately 20 per cent of the Israeli population, thereby having its own place and importance in contemporary Hebrew-speaking society. This chapter describes the unique place of this Central and Eastern European language in the Middle East. In a paradoxical way, this Slavic language crossed the borders of its ethnic origins and was brought to the Middle East, far from Slavic historical reality, by a group of people who were mostly of non-Slavic ethnic origin.

Keywords

Migration Europe Peris Dial Verse 

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© Anna Novikov 2016

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  • Anna Novikov

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