Monash University
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Ausraelis - the diasporic identity of Israelis in Australia

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posted on 2017-02-28, 04:49 authored by Porat, Ran
Recently, communities of Israeli immigrants have been formed in Australia. Although Israeli immigrants in Australia now number over 10,000, their Israeli communities have been little studied. The diasporic identity of Israeli emigrants in Australia, termed ‘Ausraelis’ in this thesis, is the focus of this study. It explores questions about the national, religious and host-society affiliation components of that identity. The thesis is based on three data sources. The first are quantitative: the Australian-Jewish community survey (Gen08) which included 356 Israel-born respondents (out of almost 6,000 participants); the 2006 Australian Census; and data from 77 Israel-born participants amongst 602 Jewish immigrants, in a 2005 survey by Rutland and Gariano. The second are qualitative sources, collected in fieldwork: participant observation on the Tapuz online social forum for Israelis in Australia; 18 interviews; and the responses of participants in a focus group conducted for the Gen08 survey. The third are text-based sources and include: a review of Eton, the Israeli newspaper in Australia; literary sources in the form of fictional novels and memoirs. The methodological strategy chosen for analysis combines quantitative methods, mainly descriptive statistical analysis, subject-based categorisation and participant observation Examining the experiences of Israeli emigrants in Australia, the study points to a shift in the push-and-pull factors for immigration from familial to economic and security-laden motives. Also revealed is a sub-group of Ausraelis, the ‘desperate’, who challenge past paradigms and perceptions about emigration from Israel. Analysing the interaction of Ausraelis with the Jewish community, the study found that most Ausraelis can be categorised as peripherals, with relatively low levels of involvement in community activities. The social cohesiveness of the Israeli community in Australia was found to be relatively strong, despite its lack of an institutional basis. With regard to religious affiliation, the study identified most Ausraelis as seculars, who employ Israeli civil religion as the primary means for transmission of Israeli national identity to their children. The policy implications of the study point to the need for a new basis of interaction between the State of Israel and the established Jewish community on one hand, and between the established Jewish community and Israelis immigrants on the other


Principal supervisor

Andrew Markus

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Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation (ACJC)


Doctor of Philosophy

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Faculty of Arts

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