The Israeli Diaspora

Steven J. Gold

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  • Published: 2002
  • Subject Listing: Jewish Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 256 pp., 15 photos, 5.5 x 8.5 in.
  • Territorial rights: North American rights only
  • Series: Global Diasporas
  • Contents

Israelis form a unique case in the field of diaspora studies. When the State of Israel was founded in 1948 it was seen as the longed-for end to the wandering and oppression which had characterized the Jewish diaspora over the centuries. For various reasons, however, one percent of the Israeli population chooses to live abroad despite the condemnation of those who see emigration as a threat to the ideological, demographic, and moral viability of Israel itself.

In this fascinating study, based on extensive field work in the major Israeli communities of New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and Sydney, Steven J. Gold looks at emigrants' reasons for leaving - existing links abroad, political and economic dissatisfaction at home, the lure of world-class career opportunities and cultural environments in global cities, and in the case of the Sephardim (or Israelis of non-European origin) often a feeling of being treated as second-class citizens. He also examines the tensions, compromises, and satisfactions involved in their relations with Israelis who have not left and with the Jewish and non-Jewish communities in the countries in which they settle. In the final chapter, Gold talks to Israeli men and women who after years as emigrants have made the decision to return. The end result is a major contribution not just to the study of the Israeli diaspora but also to our wider understanding of migration and transnational identity.
Steven J. Gold is professor of sociology at Michigan State University.
List of plates
Motives for Israeli emigration
Work and coethnic cooperation
Family and gender relations
Patterns of communal organization
National, ethnic and religious identity

"A model book, [written] the way a study should be undertaken: It is focused, well-researched, well-written, and makes a strong contribution to diaspora studies, international migration research, and ethnic minorities."
-Contemporary Sociology