Russian Immigrants Confused, Fearful Over PLO Agreement With PM-Mideast-One Family, Bjt
JERUSALEM (AP) _ The elderly immigrant wandering around a Russian bookstore was angry. ″This is a day of national shame 3/8″ he shouted. ″I’m thinking of going home and getting drunk 3/8″
Another Russian emigre, Yuri Vitulovsky, shrugged his shoulders. So Israel and the PLO signed a peace agreement, the graphic artist from Moscow said. It was inevitable.
More than half the 450,000 Russian immigrants who have flooded into Israel since 1989 voted for the ruling Labor Party or its ally, the leftist Meretz bloc. Some were attracted by promises of peace. Others hoped a new government would improve bleak economic prospects.
But the immigrants who talked of peace didn’t expect it quite so fast, and some are now bewildered.
Their security will be threatened, some say, by Labor’s bold move to grant Palestinians self-rule, beginning in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank city of Jericho.
″This is so confusing,″ said Maria Raushenbach, a Russian immigrant, as she and her friends sipped coffee in the courtyard of the Soviet Jewry Cultural Center in Jerusalem. ″It’s crazy. Everybody is in a bad mood.″
The courtyard was peaceful under the shadow of a couple of tall trees, and the young immigrants were in no hurry to watch the historic signing ceremony on television.
Across town, writer Maya Kaganskaya was disgusted with the agreement. ″I don’t even want to see it,″ she said of the ceremony.
The peace pact, she said, will be another Holocaust for the Jews.
″I feel I was betrayed,″ said Kaganskaya, a well-known Russian intellectual from the immigrant wave of the 1970s. ″I came here to live with my people, and it turns out that my people don’t want to live.″
Voitulovsky, 56, said there was nothing to fear and dismissed security concerns with a laugh.
″I know I’m much more secure here,″ he said. ″I have less of a chance of getting hit with a stone or stabbed than in Moscow.″
Others, like Demian Kudriavtsev, a computer expert in his early 20s who immigrated several years ago from St. Petersburg, Russia, were happy about the peace deal.