No, Jews are not a race

Israeli writer Hen Mazzig (Supplied photo)

The ongoing debate over what Jews “are”—a religion? A nationality? An ethnicity?—inevitably gets more complicated when considering the hundreds of thousands of Jews of colour living around the world. Nowhere is this question trickier than in Israel, where a plurality of Jews identify as Mizrahi or Sephardi.

Hen Mazzig, an acclaimed Israeli writer of Mizrahi descent, has thought often about how the perception of Jews shapes up against the reality. Jews have been persecuted for thousands of years for not being the right “race”—yet Jews are not a race, not when Jews of colour live at the intersection of Judaism and various other identities.

Mazzig joins today for an extensive interview about these ideas, how he came out as gay while serving in the Israeli army, and what the political situation for Mizrahi people is like in Israel. Follow him on Twitter @HenMazzig.


Rivkush is hosted by Rivka Campbell. Michael Fraiman is the editor and prodcer. Our theme music is by Westside Gravy. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network; find more great Jewish podcasts at