December 4, 2007 / 24 Kislev 5768
JEWISH AGENCY FOR ISRAEL CHAIRMAN , ZEEV BIELSKI: "THE JEWISH AGENCY WILL CONTINUE ITS EFFORTS AMONG THE TWO MILLION RUSSIAN SPEAKING JEWS IN THE DIASPORA."
In the framework of events marking the 40th anniversary of the Soviet Jewish Struggle for Freedom, the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and the Jewish Agency , in cooperation with the Public Committee for marking the 40 th anniversary of the Soviet Jewish Struggle for Freedom is holding
A Special Tribute to the heroes of the Soviet Jewish struggle for freedom, on December 5 in Jerusalem.
Assimilation rate of up to 80% among Russian-speaking Jews in the Diaspora. Close to 2 million Jews from the former Soviet Union still living in the Diaspora.
On December 5th a gala tribute will take place at Binyaney Ha'Ooma at 6pm to the heroes of the Jewish national struggle in the Soviet Union, in the presence of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Minister of Immigrant Absorption Yaakov Edri, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel Zeev Bielski and Chairman of the Public Committee Natan Sharansky.
Participating in the event will be Prisoners of Zion and refuseniks who took an active part in the struggle and live today in Israel, former activists on behalf of Soviet Jewry from Israel and Jewish communities in Europe and North America, representatives of organizations that dealt with aliyah and absorption of Soviet Jews, especially the Jewish Agency and Ministry of Immigrant Absorption as well as additional organizations, and hundreds of young people who came to Israel in recent months on various Jewish Agency programs.
The ceremony will be part of a series of events and educational activities in Israel and around the world commemorating the struggle on behalf of Soviet Jews that will involve various organizations in Israel and in the Jewish communities.
Background: In June, 2007, the Jewish world marked the 40th anniversary of the victory of the Six Day War. That victory affected not only Israel and its citizens, but fatefully contributed to strengthening the link of millions of Jews who lived beyond the Iron Curtain, to their Jewish identity, their heritage, to Zionism and the State of Israel. Their determined struggle, that began with the demand to allow free emigration and aliyah to Israel and included the struggle to live a Jewish life and conduct Jewish cultural activity in the Soviet Union, swept the entire world and included the struggle of the State of Israel and Jewish communities in the Diaspora, led by the United States, on behalf of the freedom of Soviet Jewry.
This struggle was partly conducted underground, and Jews were continually persecuted and harassed officially, many sent to prison for their Zionist and nationalist activity and barred form leaving the Soviet Union for many years. This struggle resulted in the aliyah of Jews from the Soviet Union in the 1970's, release of Prisoners of Zion, primarily Natan Sharansky and eventually the massive aliyah to Israel of Jews from the former Soviet Union in the 1990's.
Data: Approx. 3,000 refuseniks live today in Israel, 600 of whom were Prisoners of Zion.
During the 1970's, 130,000 Jews made aliyah from the Soviet Union. Following the easing of emigration in 1989, more than one million people have made aliyah. Close to 2 million Russian-speaking people who are eligible to make aliyah live today in the Diaspora: approximate numbers are 800,000 in the FSU, 700,000 in the United States, 200,000 in Germany, 50,000 in Canada and 50,000 in Australia.
The level of assimilation in these communities, according to various estimates, is one of the highest around the world -- approaching 80% -- despite the rise in birth-rate among FSU immigrants living in Israel.
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