Our dowry: Identity and memory among Iraqi immigrants in Israel

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8 Scopus citations


Several studies on issues of identity and memory among immigrants from Islamic countries in Israel have been published in the past decade. Most of them were conducted by anthropologists and focused on the identity traits of Mizrahim in the geographical, social, and economic periphery of Israeli society; they refer to the veneration of saints and righteous people, the significance of the Mimouna festivities, and the rise of Shas. In contrast, this article will focus on a different sector of Mizrahim, which includes the founders of the Center: these are the Westernized or 'Ashkenized' Mizrahim, who became part of the Israeli middle class. To examine the identity traits of these Mizrahim, I will sketch their socio-economic, political, and cultural portrait and outline their place in Israeli society. I will then analyse the latent objectives behind the stated goals of the founders of the Babylonian Jewry Heritage Center, with reference to the political, social, economic, and cultural contexts in which the founders acted. I will also seek to explore the connection between the identity traits of the founders as a memorialization community and the Iraqi community in Israel and Israeli society at large as a memorial community. I will do this by examining the memory issues that the founders chose to emphasize or to omit and the manner in which they were presented and perpetuated. In order to explore these issues, I will focus on one aspect of the Center's activities - its museum, the contents of this museum, and the style in which they are exhibited. Based on the connection between the founders and the museum exhibits, I will attempt to draw conclusions about issues of identity, memory, and structuring of the past among Iraqi immigrants in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-186
Number of pages22
JournalMiddle Eastern Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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