Ex-Soviets change the face of Israel

Associated Press
In this Oct. 31, 2012 photo, Bella Perlin, center, and Avraham Shapiro, left, Belarusian immigrants, eat breakfast in their home in Hadera, northern Israel. They emigrated to Israel in 1991 at the height of the wave of immigration from the former Soviet Union. (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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