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We Look Like the Enemy: The Hidden Story of Israel's Jews from Arab Lands
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We Look Like the Enemy: The Hidden Story of Israel's Jews from Arab Lands

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  50 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Ethnic bias against Middle Eastern Jews within Israel has far-reaching implications for the whole region.

Middle Eastern Jews from Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Yemen, and other Arab or Muslim lands—"Mizrahis"—make up nearly half of Israel's population. Yet European or "Ashkenazi" Jews have historically disparaged them for looking like Arabs, speaking Arabic, and bringing with the
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Paperback, 241 pages
Published December 22nd 2009 by Walker Books (first published January 2nd 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Ben
Sep 07, 2009 Ben rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
the author seems to have huge bias for Iraqi jews, might because she is decendant from them, but she seems rather narrow minded when she makes broad generalizations about the differences between ashkenazi and mizrahi, maybe because I was raised with little of both cultures it seems strange to look at them as seperate, slight differences yes, but not alien to each other. Glad I read to be more informed, just wish I could ask her some questions, I need some clarification.
Kathlyn
Aug 04, 2014 Kathlyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book and an insight into the racial hatred that is deeply embedded into Israeli culture and psyche. Ironic - the very people that give Israel its ties to the land are those they want to silence and hide.
Claire
Oct 20, 2010 Claire rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
yeah....couldn't finish this one. i could not handle the writing style. it sounded like such an interesting topic, but i didn't enjoy a single paragraph. i never would have guessed this was written by someone who actually writes for a living.
i thought for a long time i might come back to it, and give it another shot. but now it's at the thrift store, so that's that.
Steve Cran
Jul 28, 2011 Steve Cran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Written by an Iraqi Jewess who was born in Israel and lateer on was raised in London. She writes for the Guardian and Al Jazeera. She returns to Israels and offeres a critical look at the history of the Middle Eastern Jews in the Ashkenazi dominated country called Israel. The first chapter documnts the aliya of the Yemenite Jews. It tells how rough it was coming to Israel how some of the Israeli guard took advantage of their naivete and stole torah scolls and Jewellry from them. THe yemenite Jew ...more
dgw
Apr 29, 2010 dgw rated it liked it
Shelves: society, first-reads, own
I won this book from Goodreads Giveaways. I'm still in the middle of reading it, but my review will be published as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: I won this book from First Reads

We Look Like the Enemy is a well-researched, in-depth book. In some ways, I feel like comparing it to fill-in-id because both are written in a similar heavily-cited, journalistic style.

Like Start-Up Nation, this book was a very informative read. However, I found it hard to keep reading. I expect to have to push myself t
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Jeff Scott
Enemy notes

Racism exists in every country. This book documents that fact for Israel. Rachel Shani aims to document this racism that exists between the Ashkenazi (more western European jews) and the Mizrahi ( Jews of Arab descent, of which the author identifies herself). In the creation of the state of Israel the Mizrahi were the last to be settled and their treatment much resembled the concept of redlining in the united states. A practice in which members from an undesired population are forced
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George Mills
May 22, 2013 George Mills rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not an easy book to read irrespective of the author's strong research, passion for the subject, and excellent story telling abilities. She also maintains a truly brutal degree of objectivity that is all the more amazing given all she, her family, and community lost because of 'a European solution to a European problem.' I tried to maintain objectivity as I read the book, but my anger and disgust reached almost uncontrollable levels and I was forced to stop reading for days at a time as I ...more
Deanna
Dec 31, 2009 Deanna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Yeah, another book won on Goodreads... I'm excited to read this history book. I love history. I think this history will be important to understand in light of the global problems we have.

This book deals in detail with the racism between Iraqi (and other Middle Eastern Jews) and European-returning to the homeland Jews. I was of course ignorant about these factions. I think that if you look deeply into any society you will see a split however. In my town, for example, there is a major rift. Does i
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Hamza
Dec 19, 2015 Hamza rated it really liked it
Don't let the average rating on here fool you; most of the other reviews are from butthurt Zionists who didn't expect the book to be so "critical" of Israel. Truth be told, I considered giving it five stars, but it wasn't quite at classic status. Regardless, it's a very informative history book that showcases very real discrimination in Israel, and not the obvious form against Palestinians. Even many Jews themselves have felt out-of-place due to a pro-Ashkenazi narrative about Israel's origin an ...more
Jack
Feb 28, 2014 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a thought-provoking book on the issue of racism between European and Oriental Jews. I found this one especially intriguing due to my love of Arab/Israeli history. I never thought for a moment that there would be issues amongst the Jewish nation, yet there is. I recommend that the reader be familiar with Israeli history to understand some of the historical references discussed (Six-Day War, Yom Kippur War, Balfour Declaration, etc.). A quick and enjoyable study that broadened my understa ...more
Sabah
Oct 25, 2009 Sabah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Revelatory book on racism in Israel by a Jewess. Arab Jews 'hate' European ones! From Israel's founding, Euro Jews stereotyped Arab Jews as backward and 'fake', & systematically segregated, pushed into ghettos, & removed them from academic & political life. They were wrongly lured from a peaceful coexistence in Arab lands, a decision that has impoverished and devastated their culture. However, her writing is vague, elementary, and often biased.
Melissa
Jan 04, 2010 Melissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Won on first reads. As the world lost a great lady when my wonderful friend, Ramona, just passed away, this review will serve for her. She will be dearly missed and cancer will be cursed for taking her from us so young.


This is a very good book for those interested in what our world is like and how others live. It is truly a sad issue that more people can not be accepting of others.
Melanie
Apr 03, 2009 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Melanie by: University City Public Library - New Non-Fiction
I knew very little about Jews from Arab countries like Iraq and ethnic and cultural diversity among Jews in Israel prior to reading this book--and I'd previously taken a class on Modern Judaism. It really enriched and complicated my understanding of Israel's founding and Palestinian-Israeli tensions.
Tiz
May 08, 2011 Tiz rated it liked it
Painful to read as it didn't show Israel in the best light. She didn't balance her book with both sides...she only showed the side she wanted to show, and that was a negative. Would like to read more books on this topic...but just from a better writer/better balanced topic. It's basically what America did a few decades ago...we have since gotten better. I think!!??
Kimberly
Jan 27, 2010 Kimberly rated it it was ok
A Goodreads First Reads win. This book sounded intriguing to me and I was looking forward to reading it but the more I read the book more I found it difficult to get through it. I think for me the book was too lengthy, however, I think someone that is more interested in the subject or wants go know great details about racism within the Jewish culture would enjoy this book.
Lauren
Apr 08, 2011 Lauren rated it it was ok
This was disappointing. The main points - that Israel looked to Europe as a model both culturally and politically and the country's conflicted relationship with mizrahis affects and colors the relationship with Israeli Arabs and Palestinians are well taken, but probably could have been made in one thoughtful article.

The writing is very uneven which doesn't help.
Linda
Jun 06, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Linda by: mslinda8393@yahoo.com
Shelves: non-fiction, 2010-own
I loved this book. I had no idea of the intricacies of this subject. The Rachel's writing invited me into this world, and the reader feels as if they are a part it. It is a delicate area of the world in which to live. I learned so much from this book. I highly recommend it.
Sarah
Dec 28, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting, provocative book - makes me want to learn more about Israeli history. Definitely worth a read.
Jenna
Jenna rated it really liked it
May 12, 2011
Ramona
Dec 11, 2009 Ramona marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Won this on first reads. Please check my friend Melissa Murphy's review for this book.
Meghan
Meghan rated it really liked it
Apr 19, 2016
Alan
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Aug 14, 2012
Tess
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Jan 23, 2016
Annabel Raby
Annabel Raby rated it it was amazing
Dec 24, 2016
Daniel
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Oct 11, 2015
Kiren Zubairi
Kiren Zubairi rated it it was amazing
Jun 03, 2016
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Mollie rated it liked it
Jun 16, 2014
Hill Krishnan
Hill Krishnan rated it really liked it
Feb 26, 2014
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Aladdin Elaasar rated it it was amazing
Jun 18, 2013
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