This research study is a development of our previous study about the pre-vocational training program introduced to the Israeli education system in the 1950s. However, while in the previous study we examined the role this program played in making Israel’s ethnoworking class, in the present work we examine this program’s gender implications. In addition to the role it played in the emergence of the ethno-working class, the program significantly contributed to the reproduction and reinforcement of a gender-based division of labor in Israeli society. This double-edge discrimination (against Mizrahim in general and against Mizrahi girls in particular) presents a special case of exclusionary social practices in the context of the Middle East. It owes its motivating and legitimizing force to social constructions exhibiting a unique reproduction of the dichotomy between the first world (Jews of European origins) and the third world (Jews of Middle Eastern origins). That is, the social categories in which girls and boys are captured, allowing ethnic and gender discrimination of Mizrahim in Israeli society, are grounded in a European symbolic repertoire that traditionally facilitated distorted representation and oppression of the East. However, we argue that although ethnic discrimination in this context was not gender-free, it may have nonetheless promoted the interests of Mizrahi girls, who belonged to the oppressed group. That is, we argue that the very stereotypical conceptions concerning Mizrahi women in Israeli society may have benefited, paradoxically, Mizrahi girls in an educational system characterized by a discriminatory tracking system.

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