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Israeli Economy - Essay Example

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Name Professor Module Date Israeli Economy: Ethnic Considerations and the Jewish state/Israeli nation discourse One of the transformations that have taken place in the short timeline of Israel is in its ethnic composition. This is with the once dominant Ashkenazi-western immigrants having to accommodate Sephardic-Mizrahi from Middle-Eastern and North African nations, Ethiopian Jews and immigrants of Soviet origin…
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Israeli Economy
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Israeli Economy

Download file to see previous pages... This study will focus on the ethnic considerations in regards to the economy of the Israeli state as well as the Jewish state/Israeli nation discourse that accompanies it. The role of religion in economy will also be discussed. The approach of this study will be through first providing a brief background on the historical ethnic composition in regards to Ashkenazi and Sephardis and then detailing the historical and contemporary perspectives of the issues in question before concluding with a look at how Post-Zionism may respond to the issues addressed in the essay. Ethnic Background on Israel (Ashkenazi/Sephardi) Tsur (231) discusses the distribution of Jews in the pre-Zionist era, stating that Jews could be viewed geographically as European (residing in Europe) or Afro-Asian (residing in North Africa and Asia especially in the Middle East). With this categories established, it is then observed that the Zionist migration into Palestine at the time of establishment of the Israeli state (1948) was heavily inclined towards European Jewry with majority of the immigrants streaming in from Eastern Europe in comparison to those from North Africa and the Middle East. This pre-Zionist categorization spawned the major ethnic classification Ashkenazi and Sephardi that have later characterized the socio-economic and political landscape of Israel. Although it is difficult to define Jewry, the Ashkenazi Jews are the ones who originated from European nations. Originally, Ashkenazi referred to Jews from Germany who had settled in Eastern Europe and spoke Yiddish. Sephardi, on the other hand, referred to Jews from the Iberian Peninsula who had also settled in the Ottoman Empire. The two nuclei origins of Jews later incorporated other Jews, with those from Eastern Europe and later from America ascribing with Ashkenazi while those from Islamic North African and Middle East countries identified with the Sephardi (Tsur, 232; Dowty 1-3). Hence, the Zionist migration largely featured Ashkenazi Jews, with the changes all aspects of the Israeli society following showing elements of the two ethnic inclinations as is the subject of the rest of this discussion. Historical Perspectives on Ethnic Economic Considerations Kaplan notes that the immigrants from Asia and Africa (the Sephardi), generally began their lives in the new state at significant socio-economic disadvantage as compared to the dominant Ashkenazi population. While the most of the Ashkenazi seized the numerous opportunities in the working and middle class levels due to possession of marketable skills, advancement in education and considerable favour from the authorities, the Sephardi had to make do with low income jobs and settled in marginal neighbourhoods and settlements that were largely economically non-stimulating. Kaplan also indicates that economic inequality was further compounded in the entire first generation of Ashkenazi and Sephardi born in the state of Israel as the Sephardi traditionally had larger families which strained the already limited resources available. The manifestation of this ethnic disparity in historical economic terms can be seen in the statistics available on incomes, distribution of occupation and education before 1975. By 1956-1957, the Sephardi averagely earned 73% of what the Ashkenazi earned increasing to 82% by 1975. When the large Sephardi families are taken ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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