Ex-Soviets change the face of Israel

Associated Press
In this combination of fifteen photos all taken on Dec. 24, 2012, Russian-speaking Israelis who immigrated from the former Soviet Union, and who are competing in a Russian-language trivia contest in Tel Aviv, Israel pose for portraits. Israel has one of the world’s largest Russian-speaking communities outside the former Soviet Union, and the immigrants’ tenacious clinging to their old way of life has transformed the Jewish state. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

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Israel has the world's third-largest Russian-speaking community outside the former Soviet Union, after the U.S. and Germany. The Soviet Union crumbled 20 years ago, and in the aftermath, more than 1 million of its citizens took advantage of Jewish roots to flee that vast territory for the sliver of land along the Mediterranean that is the Jewish state. By virtue of their sheer numbers in a country of 8 million people and their tenacity in clinging to elements of their old way of life, these immigrants have transformed Israel.

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