Russian style Israel

It is hard to believe that the Israeli economy had been specialized in agriculture and the production of precious stones as recently as the 1990s, but now the country has firmly entrenched the title of "startup nation". Surprisingly, the modest territory of the state in conditions of permanent war moved to innovative economy in a short time, so that now the level of development successfully competes with the USA. Moreover, Israel became the first country, where technological giants, such as Google, Facebook, and Apple, opened their research and development departments outside of the USA, exploiting the financial benefits of local human capital.

The purpose of this study was to consider the role of the post-Soviet Russian migrants in the development of innovative clusters in Israel. The peculiarity of this case is that the contribution of Russians working in Israeli sphere of high technologies cannot be assessed clearly. On the one hand, social scientists note that mass post-Soviet migration gave an impetus toward Israeli technological development (see, for example, Senor and Singer, 2009; Remennick, 2003, 2007; Khanin, 2010). These works do not provide a detailed description, but claim that immigrants from Russia became the main labor force for technological progress in Israel. On the other hand, there is evidence that Russian Jewish academics- former Math and Physics professors - initially went unclaimed on the Israeli labor market , and had to sweep the streets to feed their families.  This work considers the ways in which these immigrants from the post-Soviet countries, who who had never worked in a market economy, managed to adapt to the conditions of innovative development in Israel using the mathematic and technical knowledge they brought with them from the USSR. To answer these questions, the career opportunities and experience of two generations of Russian Jews working in the Israeli hi-tech industry were analyzed.