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November 02, 1990 - Image 41

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-11-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

LIFE IN ISRAEL

An Israeli newscast with Russian subtitles.

Moscow
On Ben Yehudah

The growing flood of Soviet emigres has already
changed the sights and sounds of Israel, from
Israel Television to the corner market.

DEBORAH LIPSON

Special to The Jewish News

M

any Soviet Jews now
living in Israel jok-
ingly claim that
Israel's second language will
shortly be Hebrew. For while
no one can be sure how many
Jews are likely to make
aliyah from the Soviet Union
over the next few years, if the
figure is as high as one
million, then every fourth
Jew on the streets of Israel
will be a Russian speaker.
Some 13,000 Jews arrived
in Israel from the Soviet
Union in 1989, and some
80,000 in the first eight
months of 1990. Such
numbers have inevitably had
an effect on the country, and
not only on such major issues
as housing. Little changes are
increasingly visible and in all
aspects of everyday life.
A growing number of shops,
especially those selling elec-

trical appliances tax free to
new immigrants, now have
signs in Russian in their win-
dows with details of prices
and delivery dates.
Jerusalem's main department
store, Hamashbir, has signs in
Russian welcoming potential
new customers, and the
supermarket downstairs has
a large notice informing
Soviet immigrants that
Russian-speaking cashiers
are available if assistance is
needed.
Other supermarkets may
not advertise the existence of
Russian staff, but a growing
number are looking for -
cashiers from among the
ranks of the new immigrants.
Supermarket products are
also beginning to display
labels in Russian: one make
of yogurt is designed to re-
mind the new immigrants of
a similar product back in the
Soviet Union. Packs of sugar
are labelled in Russian and a
brand of laundry soap now

carries instructions in
Russian.
The country's banks are
particularly eager to attract
new customers, and advertise
their services in Russian
widely. Bank Hapoalim and
Bank Leumi have produced
brochures in Russian which
aim to familiarize new im-
migrants with Western-style
banking. Both are seeking to
ensure that every branch has
a Russian-speaking clerk on
its staff. Israel Discount Bank
has produced visiting cards
with "Hatikvah," Israel's na-
tional anthem, printed on the
back in Hebrew, in Russian
and in transliteration.
Israel has long had a
number of weekly and mon-
thly newspapers in Russian,
though most are not of a par-
ticularly high standard.
Nasha Strana (Our Country),
now a daily publication, is
soon to be rivaled by a new
Russian-language daily
newspaper funded by Robert

Maxwell. Former Prisoner of
Zion Eduard Kuznetsov, who
was one of the leaders of the
1970 attempt to hijack a
Soviet plane and fly it to
freedom, has been appointed
editor.
Large-scale advertising in
Russian has also become a
regular feature of Israel's
Hebrew-language daily
newspapers, to say nothing of
the occasional supplements
actually published in Russian
by both the national and local
press.
Television has not ignored
the mass immigration and
the 8 p.m. news on ITV now
carries Russian subtitles. The
Khan Theater in Jerusalem
has also jumped on the band-
wagon and has announced a
number of performances with
simultaneous translations in-
to Russian.
"We have already bought
the equipment," notes Danny
Alter, director of the theater,
"and are currently working

on the translations." He
believes that this service, plus
a 50 percent discount for all
cultural events, will attract a
considerable number of new
immigrants.
The Jerusalem Cinemathe-
que has received a $25,000
grant from a private founda-
tion in the United States to
add Russian subtitles to
Israeli films. "We have so far
chosen three films," notes
Amy Kronish, who is respon-
sible for the project, "two new
Israeli films Late Summer
Blues and Summer of Avia,
and one old classic, They Were
Ten, which portrays the
pioneers of the 1880s."
It is hoped that the grant
will be enough for six films.
There will be screenings at
the Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and
Haifa cinematheques, and
smaller screenings at com-
munity centers, ulpanim and
absorption centers
throughout the country. ❑

World Zionist Press Service

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

41

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