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Ashkenazi Jews

  • New web series spotlights disappeared Yemenite children

    In the years following Israel's establishment, thousands of Yemenite babies, children of new immigrants, were reportedly taken from their parents by the medical establishment and disappeared. Now two filmmakers are working to bring to light the stories of the families who were torn apart. By Tammy Riklis and Yonit Naaman The past half year saw the release of acclaimed Hebrew web series "Neviim: Operation Amram," which takes a closer look at the Yemenite Children's Affair and the families whose children disappeared in the early years of the state. The 12-part series, which was released piecemeal over the past year, follows the activists…

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  • Israel's education minister wants to reduce Jewish history to pogroms

    A new committee is tasked with exposing Israeli students to Mizrahi and Sephardic Jewish history. The problem? There is more than one narrative. By Gil Gertel A committee in Israel's Education Ministry meant to "expose Israeli students to the cultural, philosophical, social, and historical wealth of Jewish communities of the East and Spain" began its work last week. The Bitton Committee, appointed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett, is headed by poet and Israel Prize winner Erez Bitton. It is supposed to find ways for integrating content on this topic in the existing school curriculum. So far the plan sounds great. The…

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  • The roots of anti-Mizrahi racism in Israel

    The founders of the state, Jews of Ashkenazi origin raised on European ideas, viewed 'Oriental Jews' as backward and primitive from the moment they began arriving en masse on Israel's shores. "An Ashkenazi gangster, thief, pimp or murderer will not gain the sympathy of the Ashkenazi community (if there is such a thing), nor will he expect it. But in such a primate community as the Moroccans' — such a thing is possible." - David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, 1959 Israel's media was abuzz Monday following the release of an overtly racist commercial targeting Mizrahi Jews. The commercial for the upscale…

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  • What's an Ashkenazi leftist to do?

    One Ashkenazi leftist’s view of the post-election rumblings of class warfare between the "State of Tel Aviv" and the mainly Mizrahi periphery. Last Tuesday’s election saw Likud’s traditional popular base — Mizrahim in the poor, development towns and cities of the Negev and Galilee, and poor neighborhoods and suburbs of the central region — vote for Likud and Netanyahu in very big numbers. This caused a backlash among many Ashkenazi liberals who voted Zionist Union and Meretz. They’re saying they are through caring about the Mizrahi poor; let them go to Bibi from now on. This, in turn, has caused a counter-backlash…

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  • Behind election lurks Israel's ethnic divide

    The use of racially loaded code words at an anti-Netanyahu rally highlights the inter-Jewish racism that has plagued Israeli society and politics since day one. A look at the correlation between ethnic background and voting patterns. The anti-Netanyahu rally in Tel Aviv Saturday night was meant to be a high point of the campaign to oust Israel's prime minister in next week’s general elections — a last hoorah before a triumphant storming of the polls. But as such events go, it left a lot to be desired. The turnout was unimpressive, the speakers predictable, and the mood, attendees reported after the event,…

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  • Ashkenazis, it is time to acknowledge our racism

    The easiest way to avoid being called racist is to only hang out with Ashkenazis. But I hate this, and need to admit that I treat Mizrahis differently. Now all that is left is to start making a change. By Ruth Stern When my friend and poet Shlomi Hatuka asked me to write something about Ashkenazis and Mizrahis, I became a bit worried. How will I write without people seeing my own racism? The surest way to not demonstrate one's racism is by avoiding. If I do not find myself around Mizrahis, black people or Arabs then I won't be racist.…

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  • Pathologizing ethnicity: Are Mizrahim really more prone to violence?

    A recent article claims that the higher rates of ADHD among Mizrahim leads them to violence. But can one really make such sweeping statements about an entire demographic group without looking at the broader social context? By Marcelo Weksler (translated from Hebrew by Anat Goldman) On March 16, 2014, Dr. Shlomi Antebi, an expert on Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), published an article in Haaretz (Hebrew) with the shocking headline: "The most severe and potentially violent cases of ADHD diagnoses in Israel are of Mizrahim descent." By attributing “Mizrahi violence” to a mental condition, the headline reasserts the popular image…

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  • Mizrahi culture was suppressed, Ashkenazi culture is simply forgotten

    Since the founding of the State of Israel, the Ashkenazi elite has suppressed the Mizrahi culture Jews from Arab countries brought with them. But almost without us noticing, those who led the Zionist project also erased whatever was left of the Ashkenazi traditions from Eastern Europe. By Edan Ring Family Day was no different from any other holiday. On this day, too, we received an assignment from our daughter's kindergarten teacher. Only this time, we were slightly embarrassed. As part of the Family Day (formerly known as the Israeli version of Mother's Day) celebrations, the kindergarten hosted a big meal,…

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  • How the 1929 Hebron massacre invigorated the Zionist movement

    The riots made it clear that the distinctions between religious and secular Jews, or between the old established community and the newcomers were meaningless for the Arabs. That wasn't because in the eyes of Muslims all Jews should equally be put to the death, but because at the end of the 1920s, the Arabs felt that what all these currents held in common was more significant than their differences. By Hillel Cohen The 1929 events have become symbolic of Arab murderousness, at least in Jewish eyes. It's the proof that even without the 1967 occupation and the 1948 Nakba, Arabs have…

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