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Study: Younger Russian Immigrants More Liberal than Older Ones

A research study at Ariel University shows distinct generational differences in how immigrants from Russia interact with Israeli society.
By David Lev
First Publish: 3/16/2014, 10:17 PM

Russian immigrants and Naftali Bennett (file)
Russian immigrants and Naftali Bennett (file)
PR photo

A research study presented recently by an Ariel University team shows a distinct generational difference in the integration into Israeli society of immigrants from the former Soviet Union.

According to the study, immigrants under 30 years of age tend to have a more liberal attitude to “moral” issues that are generally considered “victimless crimes,” such as taking drugs, drinking, or using connections to get ahead.

However, when it comes to issues where offenses are considered more serious, or critical, such as violence against women or children, the immigrants have adopted the “normative” view of society, and consider those actions a crime as well.

The views tend to reflect those that other Israelis of their age hold, although on some of the questions, they adopted views that are more typical of Russian society, whether more liberal or conservative. For example, they were less likely to condemn white collar crimes than Israelis of their age group were.

Older immigrants – those 30 and up – tended to be much less liberal when it came to moral or victimless crimes, toeing a much more conservative line on issues. In this way their views were more similar to those held by older people in Russia, according to the report.

The study, led by Dr. Eli Leshem and Dr. Vered Neeman-Haviv, examined attitudes among immigrants on a wide range of issues. The immigrants polled have been in Israel for an average of 11 years, considered enough time to integrate successfully into Israeli society.

According to the researchers, a major reason for the difference in attitudes among the groups was due to their level of involvement in Israeli society. Younger people tended to have more Israeli friends and participate in social institutions, so they were more likely to pick up Israeli points of view more easily, they said.