Ars (slang)

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Ars (Hebrew: ערס`ars), or Arsim (the plural in Hebrew) is a derogatory Hebrew slang term derived from the Arabic word for pimp. [1]It is usually used to denote a certain ethnic stereotype: low-class men of Mizrahi origin.[2] An ars is typically crude, uses vulgar language, hangs out with criminal types and wears flashy clothing and jewelry.[3][4][5]


The origin of the term is from Arabic word Arts (Arabic: عرص‎, ʿarṣ) – which means shepherd, and is used colloquially to refer to pimps (who shepherd prostitutes).


While ars originated as a derogatory term for Mizrahim, it is also used for members of other ethnicities in Israeli society,[6][2] such as Russian-speaking immigrants or young men of Ethiopian origin. [7]

In 2013, an Israeli labor court ruled that a prospective employer discriminated against a Mizrahi applicant by calling him an ars.[8][9] This case set the precedent for recognizing the term ars as a racial epithet.[8][9]

In 2014, a documentary series called Arsim uFrekhot (frekha is a feminine equivalent epithet aimed at Mizrahi women) was broadcast on Israeli television.[10][11] The series examines the history of discrimination against Mizrahim and the social norms of white privilege versus Mizrahi marginalization as they appear in Israeli society.[12]

The mannerisms associated with pimps in the early days of the State of Israel, which formed the basis of the stereotypical ars: lack of education, associating with criminals, being prone to violence, hailing from low class neighborhoods, dressing in loud clothing, wearing gold chain necklaces or bracelets and using vulgar speech.[2] Related terms used by the Ashkenazi majority were "pushtak" (vacuous) and "tchakh-chakh" (riffraff).[2]

Sometimes the word ars is "feminized" by adding a feminine suffix (arsit), although it is not commonly used for women. The word frekha is the closest feminine epithet that is applied to Mizrahi women.[5] A "frekha" is the implied partner, neighbor, or relative of the ars, but the characteristics ascribed to her are different – the frekha is low-class, dresses gaudily, wears too much makeup, has long and brightly colored nails; she is flighty, shallow, a slave to fashion, and uneducated.[13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Television Drama in Israel: Identities in Post-TV Culture, Itay Harlap
  2. ^ a b c d "ה-ע' של הערס | רוני סבג-אלבין". העוקץ (in Hebrew). 2012-10-29. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  3. ^ ראומה (2012-10-31). ""שונא ערבים, מתלבש כמו אחד": ניסיון להסביר את ה"ערס" הישראלי" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  4. ^ Ortal Ben Dayan. "אל תעלו אמנות לפייסבוק, כל הערסים יבואו". ערב רב Erev Rav (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  5. ^ a b עברי, יובל (2008). ""גרוטסקה אותנטית – ערסים ופרחות בתרבות הישראלית"". הכיוון מזרח. 16: 26–31.
  6. ^ ראומה (2012-10-31). ""שונא ערבים, מתלבש כמו אחד": ניסיון להסביר את ה"ערס" הישראלי" (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  7. ^ "להיות ערס, או להיות אשכנזי? זאת הברירה". ynet (in Hebrew). 2014-10-27. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  8. ^ a b מענית, חן (2013-08-08). "האם "ערס" הוא בהכרח מזרחי, ומה הקשר לאפליה בעבודה?". Globes. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  9. ^ a b "מנהל אמר על מועמד מזרחי "מי זה הערס הזה?" - ויפצה אותו ב-50 אלף שקל". TheMarker. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  10. ^ ""ערסים ופרחות": מי פה הגזען?". ynet (in Hebrew). 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  11. ^ "ערסים ופרחות - האליטות החדשות: הרבה שאלות, מעט מאוד תשובות". Haaretz הארץ (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  12. ^ "ערסים ופרחות: הילדים החורגים של הישראליות". שיחה מקומית (in Hebrew). 2014-10-24. Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  13. ^ "הזירה הלשונית: מהו מקור הפרחה?". Retrieved 2021-04-28.
  14. ^ מתן, מאת עופר (2014-10-22). "רון כחלילי: "הכינוי פרחה מודבק לכל אישה מרוקאית באשר היא"". טיים אאוט (in Hebrew). Retrieved 2021-04-28.