America Abroad

They Come Bearing Hope

When I visited Israel earlier this year, the night flight from Cairo taxied to a spot between two El Al jumbo jets that were already disgorging onto the tarmac a profusion of joyous, exhausted humanity. Standing in line for customs, I was engulfed by a sibilant jabber that I recognized from other journeys -- to Moscow, Minsk, Kiev, Tbilisi, Tashkent, Baku, Irkutsk.

The people around me were the latest of the 1 million immigrants from the U.S.S.R. who are expected to swell the Jewish population of Israel nearly 30% in the coming years. I've thought about them a lot in the...

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