Research into ethnic inequality in Israel indicates continuing gaps in education and employment between Israelis whose ethnic origin lies in Muslim countries and those with roots in Christian countries. The categories that were created ex nihilo with the establishment of the state of Israel to refer to these groups were ‘Mizrahi’ and ‘Ashkenazi’, and these continue to play a role in Israeli society today. ‘Mixed’ Israelis (those who were born to ethnically mixed marriages) have, since the establishment of the state, been the population in whom Israel’s policy makers have invested their hopes as the future proof of the success of the social experiment launched by the Zionist enterprise. These Israelis, it was anticipated, would create a new social reality–a post-ethnic age, in which internal Jewish ethnic social tensions would cease to exist. This study, which is based on interviews with tens of such Israelis, reveals that ethnic identity plays a significant role in the interviewees’ self-definition, and is very much a salient aspect of their daily lives. They offer stereotypical presentations of both Mizrahi-ness and Ashkenazi-ness, which they simultaneously internalise and reject, while explaining why these stereotypes are erroneous and even dangerous.
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- Israeli identity
- Mixed ethnicity