Israeli Theater for Youth

Performing History of Mizrahi Jews

in Israel Studies Review
Author:
Naphtaly Shem-TovOpen University of Israel naphtalysh@openu.ac.il

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Abstract

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.

Contributor Notes

NAPHTALY SHEM-TOV is Associate Professor and Head of Literature, Linguistics, and Arts at the Open University of Israel. His interests include Israeli theater, theater festivals, and applied/educational theater. He has published articles in several journals such as The Drama Review, Theater Research International, and Research in Drama Education. His books include Israeli Theater: Mizrahi Jews and Self-Representation (Routledge, 2021); Acco Festival between Celebration and Confrontation (Academic Studies Press, 2016); and Improvisational Teaching (MOFET, 2015). E-mail: naphtalysh@openu.ac.il

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