Upon his discharge from compulsory military service in the Israel Defense Forces' communications corps almost 20 years ago, Michael Philippov was placed in a reserve unit with a conspicuous presence of former Soviet immigrants. Philippov was 15 years old when he immigrated to Israel in 1992. He was part of a group that has been dwindling over the past few years. During his last stint in the reserves, he was the only “Russian” there.
Now finishing his doctoral dissertation on the political attitudes of immigrants, he is an expert on the voting patterns of immigrants from the former Soviet Union in Israel. He therefore decided to investigate where his Russian friends from the reserves all disappeared to. He was hardly surprised by what he found. Almost all of them had left Israel, mainly for Canada, after discovering that they could not support themselves with even a modicum of dignity, even though they had all been trained in highly desirable professions. In other words, Russians' social protest is not expressed in street rallies. It is a silent, subdued protest: They simply leave the country.