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In this June 14, 2012 photo, Natalia Lerner, who immigrated to Israel in 1991 from the city of Tyumen in Siberia, presents her cat to the judges of a cat competition in the central Israeli city of Holon. Cats are prominent in Russian culture, and most members of Israeli cat societies are immigrants from the former Soviet Union. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Ex-Soviets change the face of Israel

Israel has the world's third-largest Russian-speaking community outside the former Soviet Union, after the U.S. and Germany. The Soviet Union crumbled 20 years ago, and in the aftermath, more than 1

million of its citizens took advantage of Jewish roots to flee that

vast territory for the sliver of land along the Mediterranean that is

the Jewish state. By virtue of their sheer numbers in a country of 8

million people and their tenacity in clinging to elements of their old

way of life, these immigrants have transformed Israel.