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mizrahim

  • 'Our Boys' exposes the Mizrahi-Palestinian fault line

    'Our Boys' shows that Mizrahi racism has transformed into a real and deadly threat. As the younger generation of Mizrahim, we must accept accountability for and develop a new understanding of Mizrahi-Palestinian relations. By Moran Habaz As someone who grew up in Jerusalem and experienced its bloodied streets as a teenager during the Second Intifada, HBO’s “Our Boys” shook my world. It made me reflect not only on that awful time in 2014, but also on the city’s very specific internal makeup. The series manages to capture Jerusalem’s explosive tensions, revealing both the divisions and connections along national, generational and ethnic lines, showing how a…

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  • Israel's Ashkenazi elites won't let Mizrahim lead the left

    More than 70 years after Israel was founded, the old Ashkenazi guard of the Israeli left is still doing everything in its power to prevent Mizrahim and other oppressed groups from taking the reins. By Lev Grinberg Give or take a few seats, it seems things will remain much as they were following Election Day on Tuesday, with the right- and left-wing blocs winning a near-identical amount of Knesset seats as they did in the last elections. And yet, despite what looks to be a similar outcome, it is worth examining the shift that has taken place inside what is commonly referred…

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  • Resource: Choosing annexation over development

    A new report compares and contrasts two of of Israel's largest and most important settlement projects: development towns built before 1967 and the settlements in the occupied West Bank. Text by Rachel Shenhav-Goldberg There are many ways of calculating the “cost” of the occupation. Since 2008, the Adva Center, a leading Israeli progressive think tank that monitors social and economic developments in Israel has for years published annual reports outlining the burden of the occupation on Israeli society. The organization's latest report, "Annexation Trumps Start-up Nation," tell the story of two Israeli settlement projects: the “development towns” established in far-flung areas of the country before the 1967 war,…

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  • Bidding farewell to 'the last Arab Jew'

    Born in Baghdad, Prof. Sasson Somekh was a prominent expert on Arabic literature, and a notable author and activist. He passed away this week. By Raanan Shemesh Forshner Prof. Sasson Somekh, one of Israel’s most prominent experts on Arabic literature and a lifelong proponent of peace, passed away this week in Tel Aviv. A winner of the Israel Prize, Somekh was a notable poet, author, translator, and activist. [tmwinpost] Born in Baghdad in 1933 to an educated, secular family, Somekh developed an interest in Arabic culture at an early age, publishing Arabic poetry as a pupil. At age 17, he was…

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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. Listen here: iTunes/Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify 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…

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  • As a Palestinian woman, it is my duty to support the Ethiopian struggle

    As the most oppressed group in Israeli society, Palestinian citizens of Israel have an obligation to stand with the Ethiopian Israelis protesting against racism and police brutality. The “Black Intifada” erupted just as I was in the middle of a trip to Morocco with my mother. Yet even there, in that quiet kingdom, thousands of kilometers from home, it was impossible to shut out the public conversation happening inside Israeli society. [tmwinpost] In the Moroccan city of Essaouira, in the Jewish quarter known as the mellah, migrants from African countries such as Senegal and Congo wandered the streets trying to self us handcrafted goods made…

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  • Building a new Mizrahi political home in Israeli politics

    Mizrahim, like much of the Jewish-Israeli public, are sinking into a kind of fortress nationalism. The key to change can be found in an alliance with the Palestinians. After effectively destroying the Israeli Labor Party by leading it to an unprecedented low in the last elections, chairman Avi Gabbay announced on Thursday that he is quitting politics. Kulanu leader, centrist politician Moshe Kahlon, came crawling on all fours to Prime Minister Netanyahu after he too crashed in the elections. Orly Levy, who broke away from Avigdor Liberman’s right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu to form the centrist Gesher party, didn’t even make it past the election…

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  • The price Mizrahim pay for serving in the Israeli army

    Mizrahim are forced to carry out the dirty work of the occupation, coming face to face with their Palestinian subjects in the West Bank. It doesn't have to be this way. It is hard to know for sure what kind of considerations are at the heart of the growing crisis between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman, which may result in snap elections, should they not be able to form a coalition together. [tmwinpost] But there is something almost ludicrous about the fact that they are unable to agree upon an issue that, in all respects, is one of…

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  • Why the Zionist left died this week

    Stuck in a Zionist paradigm, Israel's mainstream left-wing parties are unable to put forth a vision of equality and inclusion for all in Israel-Palestine. Tuesday’s election results were obvious to anyone paying attention. Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and rival Benny Gantz’s Blue and White won the same number of Knesset seats, Gantz has already conceded to Netanyahu, acknowledging that he does not have enough partners to form a governing coalition. Netanyahu will form a government with his “natural allies,” among them the far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties. [tmwinpost] One of the most important stories that has been largely overlooked, however, is the…

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  • More than 100 files from the 1800s are still classified in Israel’s archives

    Israel recently published its catalogue of some 300,000 classified files, including thousands of documents from before the state was even founded. The very existence of the files had been kept a secret until recently. By Asaf Shalev Israel’s State Archives unceremoniously published the contents of its catalog of classified archive documents this past summer, posting them online in 363 separate spreadsheets. Buried in the catalog of classified archives were more than 100 files dating back to the 1800s, and more than 2,000 files that predate the founding of the State of Israel but which the archive has yet to declassify. [tmwinpost]…

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  • Do Israelis vote for political ideology or cult of personality?

    Although Israelis have historically voted for strong political frontmen, it seems that dazzling personalities are no longer sufficient to winning elections. It turns out that voters are looking at the values, worldview, and policies. Last October, Lior Shlein, Israel’s top satirist, made a convincing case that Yair Lapid is a cult leader. Lapid was a TV celeb who entered politics in 2013 trading on his teeny-bop looks and name recognition. He had no discernible ideology other than a vague promise to represent the mostly middle classes behind the social protest of 2011. Yet despite his own tony demographic, his Yesh Atid party…

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  • Israel's Nation-State Law also discriminates against Mizrahi Jews

    Mizrahi academics and activists demand Israel's High Court strike down the Jewish Nation-State Law, saying it erases their cultural legacy and perpetuates injustices against both them and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Over 50 prominent Israeli Jews of Mizrahi origin filed a petition to the High Court of Justice on Tuesday demanding it strike down the Jewish Nation-State Law, saying it discriminates against both Palestinian citizens and Jewish Mizrahi citizens of Israel. [tmwinpost] According to the petition, the law, which demotes Arabic from an official language to one with “special status,” is “anti-Jewish” for excluding the history and culture of Jews from Arab and…

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  • How one law exposes what Israel has always tried to hide

    From the moment it was established, Israel granted its Jewish citizens privileges at the expense of Palestinians. The 'nation-state bill' reveals the choice Israelis have to make about the future of their country. Years ago, American journalist Ted Koppel hosted a fascinating televised debate between Rabbi Meir Kahane, the far-right anti-Arab leader, and Ehud Olmert, then a fresh-faced Knesset member from the Likud party. As the Israeli parliament is set to approve the Nation-State Law, which would enshrine discrimination against non-Jews in Israel, it is worth going back and paying close attention to the debate. [tmwinpost] Kahane laid out his political vision without qualms. “Israelis,…

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