Homecoming, immigration, and the national ethos: Russian-Jewish homecomers reading Zionism

Edna Lomsky-Feder, Tamar Rapoport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


For immigrants entering a society characterized by a strong national ethos of homecoming, the interpretation of that ethos is essential to their making sense of their new lives and reconstructing their identity. Our case study explores how immigrants interpret the Israeli national ethos while struggling over their position in the old-new homeland. Analyzing personal narratives of Russian-Jewish university students in Israeli society, we discuss how their multivocal critiques of the "national-Zionist ethos" reflect and fuel the heated and dividing discourse over national identity in Israeli society of the 1990s. We explain how the homecomers read the national ethos, confront it, and participate in the local cultural discourse by their dual position as outsiders-insiders in the new society, together with their experiences as a diasporic minority group in the native land. We suggest that the interaction between two cultural systems - the Diasporic heritage of the Jewish Russian homecomers and the Zionist ethos - broadens and elaborates the Israeli national discourse.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalAnthropological Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001


  • Homecoming
  • Immigration
  • Israeli society
  • National ethos
  • Personal narrative


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