The Philosophical and Educational Challenges of the New Mizrahi Narrative in Israel: Critical Aspects


Source: International Journal of Jewish Education Research (IJJER), 2013 (5-6)


The new Mizrahi narrative, presented by Israeli Mizrahi groups such as The Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow, presents a challenge to multi-cultural education. In particular, it repudiates the hegemonic meta-narrative of Ashkenazi-Zionist-Jewish-Israeli history that identifies the (White) Ashkenazi as the Zionist.


The article summarizes a narrative-oriented academic research of the evolution of the new Mizrahi narrative in Israel, since the 1990s. It presents findings from historical, philosophical, and narrative analyses of texts from different periods of older and newer Mizrahi struggles in Israel.


The article presents a three-stage model of the development of resistance narratives that evolved, in this case, in opposition to the hegemonic Ashkenazi mega-narrative, and that employed different practices that facilitated their expression in social narrative networks. These stages are: (1) accounting for the past (placing historic, colonialist Zionism on trial); (2) writing a new (purely Mizrahi) historiography; and (3) creating an Arab-Mizrahi identity separate from the Ashkenazi hegemony (identified as occupational Zionism that has been violent against both Jews and Arabs, and which is an invasive, foreign growth in a non-European space).


The article offers critical perspectives on the main philosophical and educational challenges of the new narrative which reveals that, historically, these three processes also involve use of stereotypes and assumed an elitist point of view that governed development of the resistance discourse. Such actions contradict the movement’s claim that the new Mizrahi narrative exists on purely moral grounds and seeks to liberate itself from these very same oppressive elements found in the dominant meta-narrative. In contrast, the analytical approach presented in this article allows for an analysis of the resistance narrative that changes the stage of liberation to one of unification.

Updated: Mar. 26, 2014