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Yemenite Jews

  • The Mizrahi communities destroyed by Israel

    Since its founding, Israel has systematically erased hundreds of Palestinian villages from the map. But Palestinians were never the only victims. This is the story of the Mizrahi communities erased before and after Israel's founding. By Eitan Bronstein Aparicio It is well known that since the early days of Zionist immigration to Palestine, the Israeli establishment and its various branches have destroyed hundreds of Palestinian and Syrian villages and towns, which were deemed enemies of the state. The new "Colonial Destruction" map, published by De-Colonizer, an alternative research center on Palestine/Israel, includes the Jewish Mizrahi communities — around half of them Yemenite — which were destroyed by…

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  • 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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  • How Jewish and Palestinian cultural artifacts became Israeli property

    A new book looks at the ways in which ancient religious manuscripts belonging to Yemenite Jews, as well as thousands of books owned by Palestinians and Holocaust survivors became part of Israel's National Library in Jerusalem. By Gish Amit (Translated by Shaked Spier) The book "Ex Libris: History of Robbery, Preservation, and Appropriation in the National Library in Jerusalem," addresses three affairs that took place within the walls of the Israeli National Library in Jerusalem: the robbery of Yemenite Jews’ manuscripts, which migrated to Israel during the 1940’s and 50’s; the collection of many thousands of book owned by Palestinians, which…

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  • Reviving the spirit of Yemen's Jewish goldsmiths

    Although goldsmithing among the Jewish community in Yemen goes back generations, most Yemenites were stripped of their ability to continue their work upon their arrival in Israel. The few who remained in the profession watched as their work lost its meaning in Israeli-tzabar culture. By Tom Fogel My family from my mother's side is a family of goldsmiths. It's a bit strange to write that out, since none of the grandchildren bore witness to our family's profession. Like many who came from Yemen, the patriarchs of the family were not allowed to bring their tools to Israel, and the women's…

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  • Arik Einstein and the failure of Israeli liberal Zionism

    As the death of legendary Israeli singer and actor Arik Einstein became a nationwide event, it became clear that some of his mourners were more interested in lamenting what they saw as the end of Ashkenazi rule in Israel. Tom Pessah talks about the role that someone as great as Einstein can play in creating real change. By Tom Pessah I spent yesterday working on my dissertation at Tel Aviv University. Israeli students can be noisy, even in libraries, but the Sourasky Central Library is generally very quiet. I have my own corner on the first floor where I can…

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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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  • 'Revivo's Project' brings Mizrahi pop back to its Arab roots

    The Revivo Project's debut album is a rare homage to the forefathers of Mediterranean pop and provides an educational introduction to the history of Mizrahi music -- or at least the Yemenite part. By Ophir Toubul Israeli-Mizrahi music has, from time immemorial, been divided into two main, often competing groups. The first is comprised of Moroccan singers, including Ofer Levi, Zehava Ben or Kobi Peretz, who gave the music a strong Turkish-Arabic flavor that was often depressing and full of protest. The second group was comprised of Yemenite Jews. What started in the 70s in Tel Aviv's Kerem HaTeimanim ("Yemenite…

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