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PODCAST: Could Mizrahim find their most natural allies in Palestinians?

Jewish Israelis with roots in Arab and Muslim countries have faced systemic discrimination for decades. As Jewish political parties court their votes, +972 writer and Local Call editor Orly Noy has a different idea.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu poses for a selfie with a Likud activist during a party faction meeting in the Knesset, July 9, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu poses for a selfie with a Likud activist during a party faction meeting in the Knesset, July 9, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

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It is no secret that for decades, the Zionist left discriminated against Mizrahim, or Jews with roots in Arab and Muslim countries, treating them as second-class citizens and pushing them to the economic, political, and cultural margins of Israeli society.

Mizrahim took matters into their own hands, forming political movements and parties of their own. Their resentment against the left pushed many of them into the arms of the right-wing Likud party. 

And yet, says +972 writer and Local Call editor Orly Noy, more than 70 years after Israel’s founding, Mizrahim are still fighting for small wins from the Ashkenazi elite, whether on the left or the right.

“Any mechanism that was set to discriminate against Palestinians, in a way, discriminates against Mizrahim as well,” said Noy. “As long as you are collaborating with the system that keeps pushing back the Mizrahim to the periphery of the society along with the Palestinian citizens, then you will always be fighting the Ashkenazi hegemony for crumbs, and that just doesn’t make sense.”

Noy believes Mizrahim now have an opportunity to move beyond the left-right politics that have kept them marginalized — by standing alongside Palestinian citizens of Israel. 

“The more rational thing is to join those who want to change the political construction altogether,” added Noy, and taking part in “something that, its starting point is full equality.”

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    1. itshak Gordine

      Stop taking your desires for realities. Eastern Jews are suspicious of Arabs after all that the Arabs have done to them. The majority of Jews from Arab countries have some warning for leftists and traitors. Let’s not forget that the ruling left in Israel until the 1970s did everything to make the Oriental Jews lose their culture, and this is unforgivable. As for the domination of the Eshkenazim, it is no longer necessary to be. On the one hand, there are more and more marriages between the two sister communities and on the other hand, Eastern Jews now occupy key positions.

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    2. Lewis from Afula

      No Orly.
      We have been through this old chestnut before.
      Israelis whose grandparents were kicked out of an Arab Middle Eastern Country and had all their assets stolen are not going to be chums of the fake fakestimyans.

      Reply to Comment