From ethnic returnees to transnational immigrants – the migration and integration of Hungarian Jews living in Israel

Author Name

Rachel Suranyi

Author Address

PhD Candidate of Sociology at ELTE University, Hungary [email protected]


immigration, return, Diaspora, globalization, transnationalism, integration, hybridity


What are the impacts of globalization in the case of Israeli immigration?

Hungarian Aliyah is minor but might be unique in a sense that according to estimations, a big majority of Hungarians who made Aliyah between 1989 and today, come back to Hungary or move to another country.One of the implications is that their integration is not successful enough.The goal of my research is many-folded. One of the goals is to see what the main motivations are for Hungarians to choose Israel. Are they going there for ideological reasons, or is it rather a pragmatic choice (influenced by globalization)? To what extent can they be considered ethnic returnees or they should be regarded as other immigrants? It is an important factor because motivations highly influence the outcome of immigration. As for their integration and identification, the picture is very diverse. The answers cover the scale from “I am 100 percent Israeli” to “I am a citizen of the world” through the manifestations of dual identity indicating the signs for transnationalism in some cases. As my dissertation will include a section with recommendations, the third goal was to see why they go back to Hungary. In this presentation I will highlight the impact of globalization along these three factors.

The research was carried out in several waves and I used qualitative studies including document analysis and interviewing. Altogether I have 73 interviews with several subgroups. The results will not be generalizable but we get a more in-depth view on the issue. Some of the answers can be applied to other countries/situations as well.


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