Haredism versus traditionism: a new reading of Mizrahi religious politics at the start of the 21st century

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter addresses the devaluation implicit of the terms “Mizrahim” (a Hebrew term denoting Jews of Middle Eastern or North African origin) and “Mizrahiut” (Mizrahi identity), and the two most prominent attempts at revaluation via the sphere of religious life. These attempts have been accompanied by the bottom-up consolidation of two new elites seeking relevance and recognition in the molding of Mizrachi identity in Israel. On the one hand, there is the Sefardi-Haredi – rabbinical leadership, which has sought a place for itself and influence among the non-Haredi Mizrahi population by advocating the repair of Mizrahi ethnic traditions and religious life in the direction of full observance of halakha (Jewish law). On the other hand, we find a series of Mizrahi intellectuals, educators and social activists seeking a place for themselves and influence among the broader Israeli public by advocating a tolerant, inclusive and non-reactionary religious agenda, which they identify with the religious outlook and lifestyle referred to by Israelis as social scientist Yaakov Yadgar suggested as “traditionism.” It is argued that each of these developments, comprising its respective organizations, activists and initiatives, aims to separate Mizrahim and Mizrahism from the devalued social and cultural image with which they are associated due to the Israeli context.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook on Contemporary Israel
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2022

RAMBI Publications

  • RAMBI Publications
  • Religious leaders -- Israel
  • Mizrahim -- Israel -- Identity
  • Mizrahim -- Israel -- Social conditions
  • Sephardim -- Israel
  • Judaism -- Customs and practices -- History -- 21st century
  • Israel -- Ethnic relations


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