In this important new study of Soviet Jewry, Yaacov Ro'i examines their struggle for emigration from the establishment of the State of Israel to the outbreak of the Six-Day War. Using a range of personal interviews, he explores how Jewish self awareness arose both as a result of the founding of the State of Israel and as a product of the Holocaust. Local groups developed and sustained Jewish cultural interests and their Jewish identity in the face of popular anti-Semitism and Soviet policy. The author continues by analyzing the campaign conducted in the West and mobilized by the Israeli government on behalf of Soviet Jewish rights as a whole and emigration in particular. Ro'i convincingly argues that despite the efforts of Soviet Jewish groups to flourish in a steadfastly anti-Semitic system, by 1967 most had accepted that the only way of implementing their Zionist aspirations was to emigrate to Israel. However, without the extensive groundwork carried out in the period 1948-1967, it is doubtful if the mass emigration of the 1970s would have been possible.
"This study unquestionably fills some gaps in our knowledge concerning the growth of Zionism within the Soviet Union and the role of Israel in support of this process." David L. Williams, History "Yaacov Ro'i's monograph signals an important beginning, sythesizing a wide variety of English, Russian and Hebrew sources to tell his complex story." Alexandra S. Korros, Russian Review