Online | The Ethnic Code

Selection Practices and Ethnic Identities in the IDF

Thursday | 01.07.21 | 19:00

A conversation between

Prof. Orna Sasson-Levy and Dr. Ze’ev Lehrer |

On the occasion of the publication of his book

The Ethnic Code: Selection Practices and Ethnic Identities in the IDF

The initial selection tool that determines the military fate of Israeli recruits was devised in the 1950s. Over the years it has spurred rumors, myths, and urban legends, but it remains a black box, shadowy and enveloped in mystery. Ze’ev Lehrer’s book—based on the first study of its kind, encompassing all IDF recruits from the 1950s to the 1990s—opens up this black box to provide a deep and novel sociological view of how institutional racism operates in a modern organization and what enables it to function.

Tracing the history of the initial selection test reveals a painful story with a formative role in shaping the relations between Mizrahi and Ashkenazi Jews in Israel and reveals the cultural and political oppression of Jews who came from Arabic-speaking countries, ironically within the institution that promised them equality, partnership, and national honor (Theory and Criticism in Context Series edited by Yehouda Shenhav / Hakibbutz Hameuchad and The Van Leer Institute Press).


Opening remarks: Prof. Yehouda Shenhav, Tel Aviv University and The Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

Prof. Orna Sasson-Levy, Bar-Ilan University

Dr. Ze’ev Lehrer

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