Colorism in Israel: The Construct of a Paradox

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1 Scopus citations


The main argument in this article is that while attempting to establish a social and national unity, the Zionist movement has ended up in a socioeconomic split that lines up with ethnic rifts and a skin color divide. The Ashkenazi (East Europeans) have set up a white skin tone as the “zero point of reference” using bio-power practices in order to turn Mizrahim (Jews of Arab and Moslem countries of origin) into “New Jews” constructed in the images of the Jews of European origin. Later this practice was applied to Ethiopian immigrants. Consequently, in order to integrate “Mizrahim” and Ethiopian, Jews developed a paradoxical “Ashkenaziation” in their appearance and their practices, which included turning Mizrahiness and black skin assets into political capital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2101-2116
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number14
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Ethiopians
  • Jews
  • Mizrahim
  • colorism
  • skin color

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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