'Shades of Grey' - About mixed-origin Jews in Israel

English title: 'Shades of Grey' - About mixed-origin Jews in Israel

Author(s): Rami Avnimelech -

Language: Hebrew

Type: Thesis / dissertation

Year: 2016


Ever since Israel’s establishment, and the encounter between Jewish immigrants from different ethnic backgrounds (North Africa and Asia on the one hand America and Europe on the other) the subject of inter-ethnic disparity has occupied a significant place in Israeli sociology. Parallel to other changes and developments, began the trend of inter-ethnic marriages - a process which created a group of Jews with mixed ancestry. Very few studies have dealt with this social group, which, in the near future, is expected to become the largest group in Israeli Jewish society. The current study has the following aims: 1) to estimate the number of Jews with mixed ancestry in Israeli society 2) to characterize mixed marriages in terms of their coherence to theories related to inter-ethnic marriages (exchange theory, universalism, and selective assimilation) 3) to examine the social standing of mixed-marriage offspring using socio-economic indicators 4) to examine the ethnic identity of the mixed group in comparison with Ashkenazi and Mizrachi groups 5) to examine variation within the mixed group, comparing groups divided according to parent’s ancestry (i.e. A Mizrachi vs. Ashkenazi father). 6) Finally, we will conclude by estimating the amount of mixed offspring in Israel—as a percentage of Jewish births in Israel—in the coming generation. The analysis in this study is based on the seventh round of the European Social Survey in Israel. The survey's data was gathered in 2015. At our request, the survey included questions about grandparents’ origins, on both sides—in order to more precisely identify the origins of the interviewees. According to the study, mixed offspring constitute 17% of Jewish society in Israel (22% of Jews born in Israel). An examination of the education level of mixed couples, bares notable similarity to exchange theory and universalism. Mizrachim who marry Ashkenazim tend to be more educated than their counterparts who marry other Mizrachim. Similarly, the educational level among mixed couples is generally higher, notably in groups in which the father is Ashkenazi and the Mother Mizrachit. In terms of socio-economic factors, the most interesting finding in the study is the great diversity within the mixed group. Members of the mixed group with an Ashkenazi father were, in terms of most indicators, equivalent to the Ashkenazi group. By contrast, members of the mixed group with a Mizrachi father were situated on a spectrum between Ashkenazim and Mizrachim. That being said, when studying subjective identity, mixed offspring were more likely to identify as Mizrachi—even in the group with Ashkenazi fathers, and even when they most likely bear an Ashkenazi surname.


Awarding institution: Tel Aviv University

Number of pages: 0

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