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Morocco

  • What Israel can learn from Morocco's multiculturalism

    Since it gained independence in 1956, Morocco’s national identity has transformed from a homogenous Arab one to multicultural. Israel could stand to learn a lesson or two. By Einat Levi Two weeks ago, the Knesset passed the controversial Jewish Nation-State Law. Sixty-two members of Israel’s parliament voted in favor, 55 opposed, and two abstained. Several sections of the law provoked a political and public storm. For instance, Article 4 defines Hebrew as the official language of the State of Israel, while for the first time in Israeli history, Arabic is defined as having a "special status." What does this actually mean?…

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  • Jewish food tells the story of immigrants, not of Israeli nationalism

    Jewish food has always been a way to demonstrate how Jewish immigrants and refugees mixed and integrated into different societies. So how did it all of a sudden become 'Israeli?' By Rafram Chaddad Tablet Magazine released last week a list of "the most Jewish foods," in which editors Gabriella Gershenson and Alana Newhouse invite “us," the Jewish readers, to contemplate the question of which foods contain “the deepest Jewish significance — the ones that, through the history of our people… have been most profoundly inspired by… the contingencies of the Jewish experience.” [tmwinpost] This moment calls our attention to the enduring…

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  • Mimouna, a Jewish-Muslim festival everywhere except Israel

    Moroccan Jews have always celebrated Mimouna with their Muslim neighbors – and still do in Belgium, Italy and France. But in Israel, this charming custom fell prey to Zionism's primeval instinct to divide and rule.  Mimouna, the Jewish-Moroccan post-Passover festival, always offers an interesting glimpse into Ashkenazi-Mizrahi relations in Israel, by virtue of being the only Mizrahi custom that successfully acceded into the Israeli mainstream. Fewer and fewer Ashkenazis come out of it unscathed: Those who look down on Moroccan customs as primitive and uncivilized get their share of abuse, as well as those who pay lip service to multiculturalism…

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  • 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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  • Ten things you didn't know about Mimouna

    Mimouna, the traditional festival celebrated by North African Jews on the last day of Passover, is often overlooked when discussing the Jewish holiday of liberation. Here are 10 things you might not know about the celebration that once brought Jews and Muslims together.  By Ophir Toubul 1. The name of the holiday, "Mimouna," has several different, fascinating meanings. The most famous of them attribute the name to the Hebrew word "emuna" (belief), the death of the preeminent medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher, Rambam ("Maimonides") or the name of the Berber goddess of luck ("Mimouna"). A less popular explanation ascribes the name…

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  • Longing for Jewish-Muslim co-existence in Morocco

    Kamal Hachkar's film, 'Echoes From the Mellah,' looks at Morocco's history, which not long ago included Jews and Muslims living together in peaceful co-existence, and serves as an important resource for building a vision of a shared Jewish-Palestinian existence. By Ronit Chacham (translated by Noam Benishei) The January 6 screening of Kamal Hachkar’s "Tinghir-Jerusalem: Echoes From the Mellah," at the opening of Doc Aviv Festival in Yeruham, and the following screening at Ben-Gurion University, were first and foremost an opportunity to broach a subject that is at the heart of our lives: Muslim-Jewish relations. This time, however, it was done through…

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  • Israel won't become part of the Middle East until the occupation ends

    The chance of Israel’s re-admittance to the Middle East lies in its ability to show initiative, originality and flexibility of thought. Only by attempting sincerely to solve the Palestinian problem will it have a chance to become a public and recognized player. Prof. Elie Podeh A few months ago, former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni traveled in secret to New York to a meeting attended by the foreign ministers of several Arab countries, Arab League officials and European foreign ministers. The topic of the meeting was the formulation of a regional coalition, or cooperation, against ISIS. Participation of an official Israeli…

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  • The Palestinian who won't give up on the power of nonviolence

    At the end of 2000, as the Second Intifada was beginning to spread throughout the West Bank and Gaza, Israeli Professor Meir Amor sat down to speak with Dr. Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian expert on nonviolent resistance. Fifteen years later, the two met once again to talk about nonviolence, growing religious fundamentalism, gender equality, Palestinian refugees and Jews from Arab countries. This interview will be published in Peace Magazine in January 2015. By Meir Amor * * * Meir Amor: About 15 years ago you and I had a discussion published in Peace Magazine. The editors think it's a good opportunity…

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  • Searching for song and identity, from the Maghreb to the Negev

    Neta Elkayam, an upcoming artist and musician based in Jerusalem, tells the story of her multi-faceted identity and presents her own personal mixtape. Café Gibraltar sat down with Elkayam to discuss her experiences growing up in a southern Israeli development town, her life-changing trip to Morocco, and the power of North Africa’s female singers. By Hagar Shezaf and Khen Elmaleh Where are you from? I was born in Netivot, Israel. My experience has been one of a "southerner," although I spent the second half of my life wandering. I lived in Be'er Sheba's Dalet neighborhood, and then in the Hatikva…

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