Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Russian Knesset

I thought it will be interesting to how is the Russian-speaking community in Israel is represented in politics. Although this is by no means a definitive measure, taking a look at Knesset members might give us a clue. Let see. The first year and the city are the year and city of birth. The second year is the year of aliyah. There are 12 people:

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Kadima:

Zeev Elkin (Kharkov 1971, 1990)
Marina Solodkina (Moscow 1952, 1991)
Michael Nudelman (Kiev 1938, 1991)

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Likud:

Natan Sharansky (Moscow 1948, 1986)

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Israel Beitainu (Israel Our Home):

Avigdor Liberman (Kishinev 1958, 1978)
Robert Ilatov (Andizhan 1971, 1985)
Sofa Landver (? 1949, 1979)
Alex Miller (Moscow 1977, 1992)
Stas Misezhnikov (Moscow 1969, 1982)
Yosef Shagal (Baku 1949, 1990)
Yuri Shtern (Moscow 1949, 1981)

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Meretz

Zahava Gal-On (? 1956, 1960)

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What can we learn from this list? First, that Russian-speaking Israelis are underrepresented: only 12 members, even if one counts Zahava Gal-On, who is hardly in touch with her russian self. The reason is that many Russians vote for not Russian candidates. While this is definitely a good thing, the underrepresentation would never have happened if non-Russian voters voted to the same extent for the Russian candidates. And that is not such a good thing.

Second thing to notice is that Moscow is over-represented. Why is that?

Third, is that russian street is not represented in Avoda (Labor) at all. Can it be the influence of Peretz? Or that Kadima and Israel Beiteiny sucked all the russians out of the system? Is it because they know russian street won't vote Avoda even if you bring back Sofa Landver and put her in charge?

Finally, the big and most recent alia of 90's is severely underrepresented - only 5 out of 12 members. It is interesting that 3 out of 5 are members of Kadima - beating even Israel Beiteinu. Moreover, Kadima's list was hand-picked by Olmert - which means those 3 people didn't go through the usual scrutiny of internal elections. They are riding the popularity of the party itself. One of the remaining two - Alex Miller - is representative of Israel Beiteinu's youth, and simply had to be from the alia of 90's if he were to be born outside of Israel and be young both at the same time.
What does it say about alia of 90's, to which, by the way, I also belong? Is it that the older Russian Israelis are not letting the newer Russian Israelis into politics? Is it that the new ones are not interested in politics? Is it because they are simply not popular enough? I don't know, but if you do, pray say.

2 comments:

Irina Tsukerman said...

It would be interesting to see where most Russian-speaking immigrants are actually from. I'd bet most of them would be coming in from Ukraine and Russia at all. I also wonder how many Russian-speaking individuals actually *go* into politics. Again, I don't have any statistics, and would like to do more research on this. But my guess is: not many. And the younger generations probably assimilate much more quickly. The children of the older generations probably have Israeli names and are probably voting left. (Largely for the non-Russian speaking candidates!)

Yury Puzis said...

I think this statistics exists.

I wouldn't be so sure they are all voting left, although they are definetely not hung up on Liberman.