Jews, Arabs, Russians and Foreigners in an Israeli City: Ethnic Divisions and the Restructuring Economy of Tel Aviv, 1983–96


This article examines the role of urban economic restructuring in the emerging new ethnic division of labor in Tel Aviv, in the context of large waves of migration to and from the city. The occupational structures of four groups – veteran Jews, Israeli Arab citizens, new immigrants from the former USSR who are Israeli citizens, and non‐citizen foreign workers – are analyzed. Study of the evolution of polarized occupation and income levels in the city of Tel Aviv relative to the rest of Israel shows that both aspects of polarization widened in the city of Tel Aviv as the restructuring process advanced. The findings are discussed in view of the theoretical debates regarding polarization, professionalization and the emergence of a new urban ‘underclass’. The data are based on Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) censuses and labor force surveys.