Mizrahi Politics, Religion, and Ethnic Thinking

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Abstract

In recent decades, two major approaches have emerged to explain the intersection of Mizrahi ethnicity and citizenship in Israel. Since the early 1990s, Yoav Peled’s Multiple Citizenship paradigm has dominated in elucidating the differential, hierarchical, and fragmented incorporation regime. According to this paradigm, affiliation with the Jewish religion was part of an ethno-national discourse of citizenship that constrained Mizrahim (Jews originating from Muslim countries) between the hegemonic Ashkenazim (Jews of European descent) and Palestinian citizens. However, a recent counter explanation has been proposed, focusing on the interpretive repertoires shaping the political behavior of Ashkenazim and Mizrahim. In contrast to the liberal assumptions of the Multiple Citizenship paradigm, this explanation places greater emphasis on cultural rather than material factors shaping political behaviors and broader worldviews, identifying each ethnic group with opposing cultural repertoires. By introducing the concept of „ethnic thinking,“this article delves into the entanglements of religiosity in Mizrahi politics through two case studies—the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow (the Keshet) and New Mizrahim. Rejecting the inclination to label Mizrahim as predisposed to traditionalism, this article challenges both approaches, which arguably overlook the performative aspects of Mizrahi citizenship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-75
Number of pages27
JournalPolitics and Religion Journal
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
©2024 Authors. Center for Study of Religion and Religious Tolerance, Belgrade, Serbia.

Keywords

  • ethnic thinking
  • Mizrahi religiosity
  • Mizrahi studies
  • perfomative citizenhip
  • post-liberalism

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