Mizrahim in the big city: an inside look at the social and cultural world of middle-class Iraqi immigrants in 1950s and 1960s Israel

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2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Israeli society in the first decades of statehood is thought of as a dichotomous one, with middle and upper class Ashkenazi Jews on one hand and on the other, lower class immigrants from Muslim countries. Though the emergence of a Mizrahi middle class is associated with the 1970s and 1980s, a deeper look into early-statehood Israel indicates that the ethnic/class dichotomy was already more nuanced in the 1950s. In fact, the social landscape of this period included a group of new Middle Eastern and North African immigrants of urban middle and upper classes, who managed to integrate into Israel's urban middle class. Most of them had come from Iraq. Scholarly discussion on this urban group presents methodological challenges, as documentation regarding it is scant and even rare. The current article concerns a particular sub-group of young middle-class immigrants from Iraq who published a journal documenting their world-view and activities. The article examines the characteristics of this group's integration process, its social and cultural perceptions, guiding aspirations, and dilemmas, placing particular emphasis on the identity and self-representation of these young people.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-142
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Modern Jewish Studies
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Iraqi Jews
  • Mizrahi middle class in Israel
  • ethnic relations
  • identity
  • immigration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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