The Economist.com Jerusalem correspondent looks at ties with America
AFTER several days immersed in the infinite and baffling diversity of New York it is strange to return to Israel, another of the world's great melting pots, and to realise how easy it is here to spot the phenotypes and guess at their stories. A blond, drawn-faced Russian sucks edgily on a cigarette outside the terminal as he waits for a relative from Moscow or Minsk. A black-coated Hasid bustles towards the taxi rank pushing a trolley laden with suitcases of stuff for the family, from Williamsburg or Brooklyn.
The yelling and gesticulating taxi drivers, or more likely their parents, will have immigrated a few decades ago from Iran and Iraq and Morocco, or more recently from Central Asia. My driver, whose abrasiveness softens when we switch from Hebrew to Russian, came from Uzbekistan when he was 15, and, of course, half his family is here while the other half is in New York. “They like it better here, but they earn better money over there.”
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