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  • Author: Guy Abutbul-Selinger x
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Hybridization and Purification

The Experiences of Mizrachi Middle-Class Adolescents in Israel

Guy Abutbul Selinger

In contrast to the view, expressed widely in public and in academic discourses, that ethnic categories are no longer significant in explaining Israeli social processes and that ethnic relations have become less hierarchical, this study demonstrates the continuing importance of ethnicity and hierarchical relations in Israeli society. Their importance is reflected in the social processes undergone by middle-class Mizrachi adolescents. Mizrachi families endow their adolescents with family capital—that is, social and cultural patterns—similar to that of middle-class Ashkenazi families. However, because these social and cultural patterns are identified as Ashkenazi, public discourses and practices signify for Mizrachi adolescents their ethnic identity and thus restore the blurred ethnic boundary. This signification is done through mechanisms of 'hybridization' and 'purification', as discussed in the article. These cultural mechanisms maintain the hierarchical relations between Mizrachi and Ashkenazi Jews within Israel's middle class.

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"We Are Not Racists, We Are Nationalists"

Communitarianism and Beitar Jerusalem

Guy Abutbul-Selinger

This article explores the opposition expressed by fans of the Beitar Jerusalem football club to the presence of Arab players on their team. I suggest that instead of suspecting that fans’ behavior originates in false consciousness, we suspend suspicion and reconstruct the meanings they bring to their actions. Narrative analysis of fan interviews reveals the communitarian logic underlying their points of view. By appropriating sacred spheres in Judaism that demarcate the boundaries of the Jewish community, and identifying them with Beitar as opposed to signifying Arab players as defiling Beitar, fans delineate boundaries between Jews and Arabs. Through the sanctification of Beitar, the fans define Jewish collective boundaries and thereby preserve their worldview and identity while maintaining a hierarchy that grants Jews advantages in Israel.