Since its founding, Israel has systematically erased hundreds of Palestinian villages from the map. But Palestinians were never the only victims. This is the story of the Mizrahi communities erased before and after Israel’s founding.
By Eitan Bronstein Aparicio
It is well known that since the early days of Zionist immigration to Palestine, the Israeli establishment and its various branches have destroyed hundreds of Palestinian and Syrian villages and towns, which were deemed enemies of the state. The new “Colonial Destruction” map, published by De-Colonizer, an alternative research center on Palestine/Israel, includes the Jewish Mizrahi communities — around half of them Yemenite — which were destroyed by the Zionist authorities before Israel’s founding and by the Israeli state after 1948.
The term “destru(A)ction” refers to communities that were pushed out against their will — often through physical violence, and always with the help of legal and economic violence. Other towns and neighborhoods, such as the Mahlul and Nordia neighborhoods in Tel Aviv, or the Neve Amal ma’abara in Herzliya, were also destroyed, although its residents were eventually offered compensation.
On the other hand, there were Israeli communities that were demolished despite the will of the residents — in the Sinai Peninsula, for instance — though these demolitions went against the grain of Israel’s colonial expansion, as they occurred in the framework of a peace agreement with Egypt, and thus are not included in the map. The destruction of these communities can be viewed as a form of de-colonization.
The destruction of these Jewish communities should not come to us as a surprise, especially when considering the way in which the Zionist establishment has always viewed and treated those from the East, be they Jewish, Muslim, or Christian — all of them Arab.
Remember the names
Since Israel’s founding, there has been a hierarchy of oppression. Palestinians endure the most discrimination, yet Jewish Mizrahim, who enjoy the privileges of being Jewish, are discriminated against by Ashkenazim. In the early days of Zionist immigration to Palestine, the discriminatory attitude by the Ashkenazi elite toward Mizrahim was openly racist — the Zionist establishment was Ashkenazi-European, and worked to protect the interests of the state’s founding fathers. They worked diligently in those years, and after the state’s...Read More