Wladimir comes out of his bushy hut. Slowly, he's not as good on foot as he was in 1991 when they rebuilt everything here. Next to Wladimir's house is the old antenna mast, three meters high, on the concrete roof of a former Syrian bunker. Shortly in front of the top of the mast four weather-beaten sirens hang. Underneath, someone has fixed a grid-like TV antenna, from which a cable leads to Vladimir's neighbor, to one of the huts that were created by the Israeli military planners around the bunker.
That was in the 1980s, when the Arab population was driven out after the Six-Day War and Israeli army units were stationed in settling Jews in the conquered territories. But hardly anyone wanted to come here, to the seclusion of the Golan Heights. Who came, went again soon. In 1991, the Israeli government made another attempt to settle people. This time with Russian immigrants who flocked to Israel after the fall of the Soviet Union by hundreds of thousands. Vladimir Belozerkovsky was already in the country, working for the Israeli electricity company. In Rehovot he joined a Likud local immigrant community. One day, the then Minister of Housing, Ariel Sharon, asked him to help organize the settlement of some of the new Russian families in the Golan. They put ads in Russian-language newspapers. Vladimir was involved.
With forty Russian immigrants he finally moved to the north to found the village of Bruchim. Soon their number tripled. There was work in a factory for fruit packaging, Russian was also spoken there, and the new residents were allowed to live rent-free for the first year. Today Vladimir is one of the last people who have not moved away yet. Bruchim seems to have fallen out of time. Most of the common areas are empty, some are missing whole walls. Weeds pull into the houses.
Vladimir feels the Zionist spirit in himself
Vladimir had come in 1974 from the Soviet Republic of Moldova to Israel, via the detour Vienna. His beard has turned white, he wears shorts and a flat cap on his thinning hair. Slightly relaxed, he walks on a concrete path and unlocks the shed, where his home trainer, a workbench and his rocking chair stand. Vladimir tells. When he was waiting at Vienna airport to travel to Israel, two people from a Jewish-American organization approached him. They had tried to convince him at the last moment of emigration to the United States. But Vladimir says he felt the Zionist spirit in him. “I just wanted to go to Israel.” Contrary to the Russian immigrants he later brought to Bruchim: “These people would have decided from one minute to the other to choose a country other than Israel if they could only get a better offer there He never thought that the differences in mentality are so great. “In the head they always stayed in Russia.”