This article explores the assimilation of second-generation migrants from the Former Soviet Union (FSU) who grew up in Israel’s social and geographic urban periphery. Their upbringing in peripheral towns and neighborhoods exposed them almost exclusively to Mizrahim (Oriental Jews), a stigmatized minority group whose members make up the overwhelming majority in those locations. We argue that their interaction with members of this group resulted in an alternative process of assimilation, which we term Hitmazrehut (Orientalization). Children of migrants, who were unaware of the historical stigmatization of Mizrahim and their culture, conceived of Hitmazrehut as their only viable trajectory of assimilation into what they erroneously perceived as the Israeli mainstream. However, embracing Mizrahi socio-cultural practices, including consumption and production of ethnic culture, religious traditions and romantic partnerships, did not lead to their downward assimilation, as the model predicts. Rather, it allowed second-generation Russian-speaking migrants to fit in and attain social and economic mobility by assimilating sidewards, into the growing Mizrahi middle-class.
- Russian-speaking migrants
- sidewards assimilation
- urban periphery
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)