2006

HIAS

HIAS launches the HIAS Policy Papers series, beginning with “America’s Broken Promise: Dire Consequences of the Welfare Reform for Jewish Refugees.” The goal of the series is to provide analysis on key immigration issues for policymakers, legislators, community leaders, and activists.

RUSSIA and the FORMER SOVIET UNION

A man stabs eight people in Bolshava Bronnaya Synagogue in Moscow during evening services. The attack is condemned by leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Islamic community. A few days later, a poll finds that the number of Russians who disapprove of anti-Semitism has increased from the year before. The pro-Kremlin youth group, Nashi, holds a Holocaust remembrance event in Moscow on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, handing out leaflets commemorating Jews murdered by the Nazis.

In Ukraine, the Education Ministry calls for the closure of a Kiev-based private university known for its dissemination of anti-Semitic and xenophobic propaganda.

The number of Jews in the former Soviet Union is estimated at 365,500, down from the 2,568,000 counted in the 1970 Soviet census.

U.S./WORLD

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert fails to appoint a Russian-speaking minister to his cabinet, the first time since 1995 that an Israeli has formed a government without a representative from the large Russian immigrant community. Pundits predict that the main beneficiary of the shift will be Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Is Our Home), the party formed by Russian immigrants in 1999.

STATISTICS

  • Soviet Jewish immigrants to US: 618
  • Soviet Jewish immigrants to Israel: 6,185

Looking Back

Twenty Jews make it onto the list of 100 most influential Ukrainians published every year by Korrespondent, a Russian-language Kiev weekly. All of the Jews cited are business leaders except for Rabbi Ya’akov Dov Bleich, Kiev’s chief rabbi. Far from welcoming the attention, many in Ukraine’s Jewish community fret that this focus on the overrepresentation of Jews among the country’s business elite will be used by anti-Semites for propaganda purposes, as Jews make up no more than one-half percent of the country’s total population.