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

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews



Rachel Shabi was born in Israel to Jewish Iraqi parents. When she was a child her family emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1974. Their leaving reversed the spiritual trek of the Jewish Diaspora, around the world whose members wistfully repeat at the Passover tables, "Next year in Jerusalem." Years later, in fact, Shabi went back to visit and to live for an extended period, but her attitude toward her former homeland is conflicted by the longstanding discrimination suffered by Arab Jews in Israel. Shortly after its creation, Israel accepted close to one million Jews from Arab lands-from Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey. Mizrahi (Middle Eastern) Jews now make up around 50% of Israel's population. Yet Ashkenazi Jews have traditionally disparaged the Mizrahi as "backward" and have systematically limited their opportunities in the classroom and the workplace. "There is a class split," writes Shabi, "that runs on ethnic lines." She traces the history of how the Jewish Disapora lived alongside Muslims and Christians for centuries, and how the dream of Jewish solidarity within Israel in the mid-20th century was fractured by ethnic discrimination as pernicious as racism in the United States, Great Britain, and other parts of the world. Shabi combines scholarly research with intimate oral history to shed light on ethnic injustice, and her personal story and passion make We Look Like the Enemy a stunning, unforgettable book.

About Rachel Shabi

See more books from this Author
Rachel Shabi was born in Ramat Gan, Israel, and grew up in London where she earned an advanced degree in politics and literature at Edinburgh University. Shabi is a journalist whose stories have appeared in the Guardian, the Sunday Times, the Daily Express. She also has covered social justice and campaign issues for UK media, including the New Statesman, and al-Jazeera online. This is her first book. She relocated to Israel while writing this book.
Published July 1, 2009 by Walker Books. 272 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for We Look Like the Enemy

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

As Shabi amply demonstrates, the Arab Jewish minorities who first settled in Israel, or Mizrahis, were treated by the Zionist Ashkenazi founders (Jews from Europe) as inferior and even “uncivilized,” suffering discrimination that still remains entrenched.

| Read Full Review of We Look Like the Enemy: The H...

Bookmarks Magazine

She traces the history of this split, starting with the centuries-old story of the Jewish Diaspora, then discussing how Mizrahi figured in the founding and building of Israel, protests by the Mizrahi Black Panther Party in 1971—“the first clash of Jew against Jew in Israel”—and a successful campa...

Mar 28 2009 | Read Full Review of We Look Like the Enemy: The H...

Reader Rating for We Look Like the Enemy

An aggregated and normalized score based on 9 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review