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Mizrahi identity

  • Why Morocco can be a model for Jewish-Arab partnership

    Throughout much of my life, I have been engaged in attempts to improve Jewish-Arab relations in Israel. But a recent trip to Morocco, where Jews and Muslims lived in harmony for centuries, filled me with hope for my country. Life after the conflict: Act One.  By Ron Gerlitz Yes we can. We can imagine good relations between Jews and Arabs here, in the State of Israel, and generally in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the main insight with which I returned from a very meaningful trip together with members of the Shaharit "120"…

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  • Being a Mizrahi woman in the Left

    My leftism is beyond the establishment, and it stems first and foremost from my experiences as an outsider. By Netta Amar-Shiff I grew up in a house that was mostly involved in maintaining family unity and keeping the mitzvot, all within the geographical radius of my home, my synagogue, and my school. Although I never knew who or what Arabs were, I knew a little bit of Arabic, since I lived with my grandmother, may her memory be a blessing, for several years. When I was young knowledge of the language did not serve as a bridge for anyone in…

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  • To my Ashkenazi girlfriend, and the one who is yet to come

    It’s fairly common these days to hear people in Israel claim that there can’t be racism because everyone is marrying everyone else, regardless of ethnicity. Except that’s not really true. By Adi Sadaka Part 1: A certain kind of truth When I began studying film five years ago, one of the first movies they showed us was David Ofek's "Bayit" (Home), from 1994. The movie, which was Ofek's final project, tells the story of an Iraqi family in Israel during the Gulf War of 1991. David (who plays himself) arrives at his parent's home with his Ashkenazi girlfriend. Together they…

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  • The struggle for Mizrahi recognition isn't limited to Israel

    If Israeli Jewish society is going to move forward dealing with its own racial tensions, it needs British and world Jewry to do the same. Generations of Mizrahi Jews in the UK no longer understand their own history: they have been taught to weep for Krakow but never for Sanaa. By Leeor Ohayon Deep in the heart of North East London, where South Tottenham meets Stamford Hill, sits an Adenese Jewish community. Here, I was born and raised, born into a mixed Yemenite-Moroccan family in the middle of a Mizrahi Jewish bubble. Within that bubble, where Hebrew was sung in heavy…

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  • Can a Mizrahi girl fit into Israel's national story?

    I grew up in a place where my first name was nothing more than a word on my identification card. Where the Holocaust was something that didn't belong to me. Where my story had no place. All because of my ethnicity.  By Adi Sadaka Ever since I was a young girl and through my years growing up in Kiryat Tiv'on, I found myself trying my best to conceal my last name. In the small town where I lived in Israel's north, the heartland of Ashkenazi identity, I felt, without even understanding what I was feeling at the time, that it was better…

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  • Being a Mizrahi Jew, an Israeli and touching the Holocaust

    The Israeli Holocaust discourse illustrates the — still — conflicted position of Mizrahi Jews in Israeli society. Perhaps we could design a Mizrahi identity that draws from the roots of its own unique history and not from that which is imposed upon it externally. By Batya Shimony A year ago on Holocaust Memorial Day I was driving in my car to Be'er Sheva and listening, as I usually do, to Galei Zahal – the army radio station. It suddenly dawned on me just how much the broadcast schedule had changed compared to previous years. All the familiar stories of that…

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  • 'But you're not really Mizrahi': Rewriting an erased identity

    In the face of repeated sexual harassment and offhand racist comments by friends and acquaintances, one writer turns her anger into a reformulation of her identity. The awakening of sorts follows Amnon Levy's Hebrew-language TV documentary series, "The Ethnic Demon." By Naama Katiee (Translated from Hebrew by Rachel Beitarie) I’m about to finish high school, and I’m taking the bus. A guy sits himself besides me, places his hat between us and starts playing with it. Five minutes pass and I begin to suspect he is stroking my thigh. I’m not sure though. My heart is pounding but I stay mute, and…

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