Like a Phoenix: The renaissance of Sephardic/Mizrahi identity in Israel in the 1970s and 1980s

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Abstract

During Israel's first decades, conflict between immigrants from Islamic countries and the Israeli establishment focused on questions regarding equality. The immigrants protested against discrimination in the labor market, against poor housing conditions, and against police brutality. The question of Mizrahi culture and identity was barely mentioned. In the 1970s and 1980s, however, the ethnic discourse in Israel shifted from economic issues to cultural issues. Different groups challenged the school curriculum, asking for more attention to the history and literature of Jews from Islamic countries. Mizrahi music started to develop on the fringe of the Israeli musical scene and moved slowly into the mainstream. Political parties (Tami and Shas) identified with Mizrahi identity and emphasizing it, started to appear and to achieve success. This article provides examples of the expression of identity and culture in different fields and analyzes the causes of this change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalIsrael Studies
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017

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