Ethnicity and Political Mobilization in a Deeply Divided Society: The Case of Russian Immigrants in Israel

  • Majid Al-HajEmail author


This paper deals with political mobilization among immigrants from the Former Soviet Union, who arrived in Israel in the 1990s. The data are based on two nationwide surveys, conducted 10 and 20 years after the arrival of the first wave of these immigrants. My analysis shows that immigrants’ voting behavior is dynamic, and is determined mainly by their perceived interest in and attitudes toward domestic matters rather than regional issues connected with the Israel–Palestine conflict. Immigrants have adopted a complex strategy of political mobilization over time, which has shifted from the formation of “ethnic” parties in the first decade into “hybrid-ethnic” parties in the second decade. This strategy allows flexibility in terms of support, recruitment, and coalition building; prevents ethnic exclusion, maximizes the gains of Russian immigrants; and minimizes the price of their ethnic mobilization in a deeply divided society.


Immigrants Russians Israel Ethnicity Politics Mobilization Palestinians 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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