Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Russian Aliyah (1990)

1990 Dry Bones cartoon - The Russian Aliyah.
Today's Golden Oldie is a Dry Bones cartoon from February 1990. Eighteen years ago this month.

Between 1967 and 1973, 100,000 Soviet "olim" came to Israel. In 1974, after the Yom Kippur War, some of these Jews began "bypassing" Israel. Many waited behind at the Vienna transit point hoping for entry visas to Western destinations instead. By 1987, 90% of those who left the USSR chose not to come home to the Jewish State.

Then, suddenly, in 1990, the picture changed. The monthly figures for Soviet Aliyah topped 10,000 and by mid-year, the wave of immigration would surge, with planeloads of Russian immigrants being airlifted in.

The joke in the cartoon from 1990 is based on their new immigrant ignorance of their new homeland, and on the suggestion (which had been made at the time) that these newcomers be sent to homes in Judea and Samaria (currently called the the West Bank, a name which was only created by Jordan after the War of Independence in 1948, when Arab armies invaded and occupied the Judea and Samaria territories).

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