Page 79 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 38

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GITELMAN / RUSSIAN PUBLICATIONS IN ISRAEL
6 9
issues, but its focus is not exclusively or even primarily Israeli or
even necessarily Jewish. It is a comment on the provincialism of
Israeli officialdom, and perhaps society generally, that the charge
was made against the jou rna l tha t “it could be published any­
where in the world,” a judgm en t, by the way, not universally
shared. For this reason the jou rna l receives no financial help from
the Israe li g o v e rnm e n t (or any o th e r body in Is ra e l and
elsewhere). Edith Frankel’s judgm en t is tha t “Israeli policy is to
fund only ‘Zionist’ publications . . . T he attitude o f the Israeli
authorities is not always consonant with the need o f the Soviet
Jewish imm igrants.”3 Support for this assertion may be found in
the popularity o f
Vremiia i my
and its appa ren t ability to fund itself.
It should also be added that it is probably the Israeli publication
which is read most frequently by non-Israeli Russian readers.
As can be seen from this brief survey, publications in Russian
occupy a significant place in the literary world in Israel, though
they are known almost only to the imm igrant community. A
combination o f imm igrant initiative and help from the Israeli
government and world Jewish organizations has produced a very
respectable list o f Juda ica publications in Russian, filling a yawn­
ing gap, and has b rough t a small sampling o f contemporary
writing of Jewish interest to the imm igrant reader. Israel has the
potential of becoming a center for emigre Russian culture, bu t it is
unlikely to fulfill tha t potential because official institutions are not
interested in this happen ing and will not suppo rt Russian culture
per se.
They see the ir mission as helping to draw the Soviet Jew
closer to Judaism and , especially, to Israel. Moreover, the leading
lights of Russian cu lture who leave the USSR are more likely to
wind up in Paris, New York, and London than in Tel Aviv.
Russian language publication in Israel is therefore likely to be
overwhelmingly Juda ica publication in the broad sense. As such,
nevertheless, it should be o f great relevance not only to ex-Soviet
citizens in Israel bu t to Jews from the Soviet Union in o ther
countries and to those still in the USSR.
Perhaps the time will come when Israel will become a cultural
beacon for Soviet Jews the world over, bu t that will depend both
on the Soviet emigres and on the Israeli establishment which at
present regards “drop -ou ts” only with hostility and contempt and
3
Ibid.,
pp. 61, 65.