From the Publisher
“The importance of this very personal book is in the insights it provides to feelings and attitudes of both groups toward social, cultural, and political conditions in Israel rather than in providing new data.” Jewish Book World
“Shabi explores the contentious questions of how these Jews arrived, the experiences they endured, and the lingering issue of where they fit into Israeli society. We Look Like the Enemy combines the author's own personal story with academic studies, cultural analysis, and on-the-street interviews in order to paint a full picture of this often overlooked population.” Middle East Journal
“Shabi hits hard and effectively in pointing out the fissures in contemporary Israeli society that belie some of the comforting Zionist myths.” Booklist
“A finely calibrated, intimate portrait of a diverse people, imbued with authenticity sympathy.” Kirkus Reviews
Journalist and first-time author Shabi reports on the societal struggle of Israel's Arabian Jewish population from her viewpoint as the Israel-born daughter of two Iraqi Jews. Backed with a long view of Jewish history in both the Middle East and Europe, Shabi explores the conflicts and inequities among the privileged Ashkenazi Jews-European, educated and cosmopolitan-and their Mizrahi neighbors, whose culture-incorporating many Middle Eastern and North African traditions-is often devalued or oppressed: popular Arabian music gets banned from Israel's airwaves, the Mizrahi accent has become shorthand for the lower class, and government programs meant to help Mizrahi migrants are set up to fail (like the "developmental towns" cut short of funding during the Six-Day War, and left half-developed thereafter). Interviews with Mizrahi citizens heap blame on the Ashkenazi-dominated Jewish Agency for presenting Israel as a haven for all displaced Jews, when the reality for Arabian Jews is likely less prosperous-and possibly less tolerant-than life in Arab countries. Shabi's investigative skill and grasp of Israeli history (especially her re-examination of the Jewish Diaspora) makes this a rare and fascinating overview of the other Israeli conflict.
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