Israeli Theater for Youth: Performing History of Mizrahi Jews

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This article examines Mizrahi theater artists who portray the little-known history of Middle Eastern Jews to Israeli youth, focusing on two productions: Palms and Dreams (1983) and Scapegoat (1987), both of which are based on well-known novels about the immigration of Iraqi Jews to Israel. In ‘performing history,’ these plays shape an assertive Mizrahi image and a Mizrahi historical narrative that contests the Orientalism of the Israeli education system. In addition, although both plays convey the Mizrahi narrative to a youth audience, compared to similar plays aimed at adults, they are conservative in their adherence to the conventional Zionist narrative

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-104
Number of pages24
JournalIsrael Studies Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Yitzhak Gormezano Goren is an Egyptian-born author, playwright, and director who, together with actress Shosha Goren (his wife) and actor and playwright Rafi Aharon, founded Bimat Kedem Theater in 1982. It was the first time a formal theater identified itself as a Mizrahi theater. The trio sought to create and perform a new Mizrahi narrative and image in opposition to the Mizrahi stereotypes found in Israeli theater and culture. Bimat Kedem’s repertoire pursued this sociocultural agenda until the theater was closed in 2013 due to insu ?cient financial support from the Ministry of Culture (Shem-Tov 2019a). Palms and Dreams was performed at the Orna Porat Theater but was actually a joint production of the founders of Bimat Kedem (Shosha Goren and Rafi Aaron acted in it), and the play deliberately aligned itself with the Mizrahi agenda.

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 4 87/20).

Publisher Copyright:
© Association for Israel Studies


  • Iraqi Jew
  • Israeli theater
  • Mizrahi identity
  • Mizrahi theater
  • performing history
  • youth theater


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