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Jewish Tours Argentina

It Had Its History

The Jews of Russia

For centuries the Jews had suffered under these restrictions, but in the late 19th century they decided to end such discrimination and reshape the whole society. They joined movements to overturn the regime. Jews after the 1917 Russian revolution were appointed to some of the country’s most sensitive positions.

Over the next few years Jews were involved in almost all aspects of the revolutionary regime. There was Leon Trotsky (Bronshtein) who served the equivalent of the Minister of Defense, there was Maxim Litvinov (Isser Meir Wallach) equivalent of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Genrikh Yagda, head of the secret police. Even Lenin might have had a Jewish grandparent.

Emigration from Russia began by 1914. One million-eighty thousand emigrated to the United States. Earlier in 1893 the Jews from Bukhara had founded a settlement in Jerusalem and by 1900 it included 180 houses, two synagogues and two schools. Over 60,000 Jews entered Palestine, mostly from Russia. They sought a new home living under Turkish rule. Many settled on wastelands, sand-dunes, draining the malaria marshes, building irrigation for farming. Russian born Jews played a leading part in the country’s political, economic and cultural life. The first four presidents and the first four prime ministers were all Russian born. David Ben -Gurion, Golda Meir, Chaim Weizman, Zalman Shazar, Moshe Sharett, Levi Eshkol, Menachem Begin, Ephraim Katz. In 1960 of the 73 members of Knesset, 52 gave their birthplace as Tsarist Russia.

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