Soft Religiosity: The Identity of North African Youths in Israel in the 1950's

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The discussion about the ethnic gap between Ashkenazy and Mizrahi Jews in Israel is usually detached from the discussion about the tension between religious and secular Jews. However, those two internal Israeli conflicts are closely related. Religious identity in Israel divided the society and was one of the forces that shaped Israel's political arena. The question of religious identity among European Jews was clear. A dichotomy between observance and non-observance defined which camp each individual belongs to. The process of secularization among Mizrahi Jews was different, and there was no clear distinction between religious and non-religious there. The large immigration of Jews from Muslim countries challenged the Israeli system, particularly the education system. The habits and way of life of Mizrahi youth fit well with neither the religious schools nor the secular schools. The problem was especially difficult in Youth Aliyah institutions, where teens that immigrated without their parents were educated. The article elaborates on the difficulties that those young immigrants faced in the existing religious and secular institutions. The article also focuses on the development of a third stream - the traditional stream - which offered a solution to the religious identity of North African Youth.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)131-167
JournalJournal for the Study of Sephardic and Mizrahi
StatePublished - 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'Soft Religiosity: The Identity of North African Youths in Israel in the 1950's'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this