Israel: Gaps in Educational Outcomes in a Changing Multi-Ethnic Society

  • Nura ReshEmail author
  • Nachum Blass


Our chapter offers a systematic review of research on ethnic inequalities in education in Israel from 1980 (and when relevant the decades before -‘60s, ‘70s) to 2015. In particular, it focuses on studies that investigate gaps between ethnic groups in terms of dropout rates, years of schooling, educational certificates (mainly high school – Bagrut) and academic achievement; quantitative outcomes that reflect how educational inequalities are conceptualized in Israeli research. Studies in this broad area shifted their attention over time: from comparing Jews of European-American descent (EA – Ashkenazim) with Jews from Afro-Asian descent (AA – Mizrachim) in the 50s-70s, to Russian and Ethiopian Jews with the “old-timers” Jewish majority and between the Jewish majority and the Arab minority from the 90s onwards. Research on the Jewish- Arab educational inequality was “postponed” until the ‘90s due to several reasons related to the specific position of this minority in the Israeli society as explained in the introductory chapter. However, their structural separation enabled the investigation of inequality in resource allocation and not only in educational outcomes. Research in this area relies usually on quantitative research methods and a positivistic approach to social sciences. A broad range of factors and processes are related to these gaps in ‘achievement’, such as: social class differences, differences in quality of neighborhoods and schools (and related resources or forms of ‘social’ and ‘cultural’ capital), ethnic and social composition of the school, ability grouping (tracking), duration of stay in Israel / generation, whether people have mixed ethnic backgrounds or not, discrimination in the allocation of financial and other resources, as well as disregard of the difficulties of ethnic cultural and lingual minorities.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Taub CenterJerusalemIsrael

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