Identity, Migration, and the City: Russian Immigrants in Contested Urban Space in Israel

Erez Tzfadia, Haim Yacobi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article deals with the way in which Russian immigrants identify with the Israeli national project, highlighting the process through which this identification occurs and its effect on the urban context. Our main argument is that this identification has arisen through interrelated processes including the ideology of the Israeli state and the history of settlement, the Russian social constructs of ethnicity and power, and local policies through which the state and the private sector produce neighborhood space. More specifically, the article focuses on the ethnic relations and urban politics among Russian immigrants in the Jewish-Arab "mixed" city of Lod in Israel. Through critical examination of political declarations, media sources, and urban policy documents, it examines the processes of de-Arabization and Judaization and the cultural-political values that Russian immigrants hold in relation to nationalism, minority-majority relations, and civil rights as they knew in their homeland. It also explores the nationalist-economic conditions that shape the nexus between public policy and free market actors and advance the national project of "demographic engineering
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)436-455
Number of pages20
JournalUrban Geography
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2007


  • Ethnic conflicts
  • Identification
  • Mixed cities
  • Russian immigrants


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