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Russian Immigrants Make Less Money Than Native Israelis, Report Finds

JERUSALEM – Immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union earn about a third less than native Israelis, a report by the state’s statistics agency revealed on Tuesday.

The report by the Central Bureau of Statistics was published as the major wave of immigration from the FSU marks its 25th anniversary.

According to the report, Israelis of Russian origin earned on average NIS 14,074 ($3,692) a month per household in 2014, while native-born Israelis earned NIS 20,944 ($5,494) a month per household.

The bureau’s report defined native-born Israelis or veteran Israelis as households in which the main provider was either born in the country or immigrated before 1989.

Another issue highlighted by the report is the virtually non-existent pensions of older Russian Israelis.

Whereas 54.8 percent of non-working native Israelis of retirement age drew from pension funds, the number falls to only 8 percent among immigrants from the FSU.

Many of the immigrants came to Israel with few possessions and left properties behind, starting life in Israel at middle age or older with little to fall back on.

As highlighted over the past few months in several news reports, the issue of pension funds may sway the entire Russian-speaking electorate, weighing on that demographic considerably more than issues like security or foreign affairs.

The report also revealed gaps in housing between native Israelis and immigrants. Some 70 percent of native Israelis live in homes they own, compared to just 51.7 percent of Russian immigrants.

In addition, among immigrants who are home owners, most live in areas where apartments are valued at a lower price than the average price of homes owned by native Israelis.

The disparities between the two groups persist despite the relatively high level of education among immigrants from the FSU. According to the CBS, one of the main reasons for the gap may be the language barrier. Only 55 percent of Russian Israelis surveyed by the CBS said they had a very good grasp of Hebrew, while some 25 percent cannot speak the language at all.

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