Living in a Bubble: Enclaves of Transnational Jewish Immigrants from Western Countries in Jerusalem

Hila Zaban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Immigration to Israel by Jews from Western countries has been growing over recent years. Jerusalem attracts more of these mainly religious immigrants than any other city in Israel, and many choose to live in the Baka neighbourhood. These lifestyle/homecoming migrants come to Israel for religious and ideological reasons, seeking a sense of belonging to place. Paradoxically, such belonging is only found, I argue, when living in a community of expatriates who share a similar culture, background, ideology and lifestyle. The article focuses on the aspects in which sociabilities of Anglo and French immigrants are being formed in Baka, through either real-life or virtual means. The Anglo and French ‘bubbles’ in Baka, which are separate from each other, are formed through people’s daily routines. People meet and communicate in synagogues, parks, shops, educational institutions, at cultural events, with Facebook contacts and more. The bubbles are both functional and limiting. While they enable immigrants to find support as they deal with the difficulties of immigration, they also make it harder to assimilate into Israeli society. While migrants gain a sense of belonging in their new locale, they do so from within the bubble and remain strangers outside of it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1021
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of International Migration and Integration
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Belonging
  • Bubble
  • Ethnic enclave
  • Homecoming
  • Jerusalem
  • Lifestyle migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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