Between authenticity and ethnicity: Heritage tourism and re-ethnification among diaspora jewish youth

Lilach Lev Ari, David Mittelberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Heritage tourism takes on a new meaning when conceived and implemented in the framework of a diaspora–homeland context. Trip organisers utilise heritage tourism that identifies the signifiers of national collective identity or Peoplehood and construct an experience of authenticity that supports a newly reconstructed narrative of personal and collective identity that bridges the diaspora and homeland identities. This paper examines into the differential consequences of heritage tourism on the ethnic identity of diaspora travellers from North America and the former Soviet Union to their homeland, specifically contrasting Jewish tourists from different diaspora localities making an otherwise almost identicalbirthright Israel trip. For both groups, Jewish ethnic identity was strengthened, particularly their emotional attachment to Israel. However, the difference between the two groups was found in the actual factors that explain this post trip attachment to Israel. The experiential component was more prominent among participants from the former Soviet Union, while among North American student participants, Jewish background as well as their higher pre-trip motivations provide an explanation for their high post-trip scores of attachment to Israel. Israel thus serves as the liminal domain of diaspora tourists, where existential authenticity and pre-trip ethnicity as latent as the latter may be, intertwine experientially to generate an expansion of the frame of individual identity of diaspora tourists in their homeland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-103
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Heritage Tourism
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Authenticity
  • Diaspora
  • Ethnic identity
  • Heritage tourism
  • Homeland
  • Peoplehood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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