Russia's Putin Cozies Up to Jews

Thursday, May 08, 2014 |  Yossi Aloni

Amidst mounting tension between Russia and Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin opened official government facilities to host the largest conference of Russian-speaking Jews to discuss the topics of Zionism and Judaism.   Over 1,200 young Jews from all over the former Soviet Union gathered in Moscow for the “Limmud FSU” (Learning FSU) conference. Now in its ninth year, Limmud FSU is a festival of Jewish learning that includes lectures, workshops, roundtable discussions, music and a variety of cultural events in Russian, English and Hebrew.

The conference was addressed by Prof. Zeev Hanin, the chief scientist at Israel’s Ministry of Absorption, who lectured on a new emerging identity among young Jews living in the former Soviet Union.

According to Hanin, these Jewish youth can be labeled as the “first post-Soviet generation.” As such, this generation, while maintaining a deep connection with Jewish culture and the Jewish state, are also beginning to identify more with the land of their birth.

In the latest issue of Israel Today Magazine, we explore burgeoning ties between Russia, Israel and the wider Jewish world. Local experts and politicians told us that this phenomenon is greatly complicating relations between Israel and America, but also said this might not be a bad thing, considering the Obama Administration’s fumbling of major international crises.

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PHOTO: Young Russian-speaking Jews attend ‘Limmud FSU 2014’ in Moscow

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