A new children’s book offers hope for a shared future

The children’s book Sweet Tea with Mint and Other Stories spreads hope that a different future is possible, one shared by both Jews and Arabs. In this way, its unique perspective differentiates it from other children’s books in Israel. Marcelo Weksler The first time I was introduced to the children’s stories in Sweet Tea With […]

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.

Longing for Jewish-Muslim co-existence in Morocc

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.

Beyond Netanyahu: On the collapse of the so-called Left

Many in the Israeli Left saw the recent election defeat as a danger to democracy. But if the Left wants to win elections, it needs to let go of its anti-Mizrahi fear-mongering and racism.

A Mizrahi look at democracy: Impressions from a ‘Haaretz’ conference

What does it feel like to be thought of as someone who endangers democracy? Sometimes, all it takes is having dark skin, curls and a kippa. Thoughts on Mizrahi identity from Haaretz’s Conference on Democracy

Israeli Black Panther: Mizrahim must boycott the elections

Since the establishment of ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’ and until today, not a single election has fundamentally changed the status of Mizrahim. Now we must use the only tool we have left at our disposal and refuse to participate in the game altogether.

What Mizrahi activists really want: A ten-point program

Mizrahi activists have tried explaining their positions for years. Now, in the run-up to the elections, they lay out their political vision for education, land reform, health care and representation in a ‘ten-point program.’

Can a feminist Mizrahi woman find her political home in Shas?

By Efrat Shani-Shitrit Although it is run by ultra-Orthodox men and its path for social mobility is anchored in religion, Shas remains the only truly socially minded political party and is certainly the only Mizrahi party. One voter’s search for answers. A few weeks ago, flyers targeting the women of north Tel Aviv were posted around […]

Why Mizrahim don’t vote for the Left?

It is no wonder that Mizrahim vote for right-wing parties when the Ashkenazi-dominated Left has done everything in its power to exclude them. Want things to change? Start talking about Ashkenazi privilege

Yemenite Babies Affair: Families of the kidnapped speak out

Between the years 1948 and 1952, thousands of babies, children of mostly Yemenite immigrants to the newly-founded State of Israel, were allegedly taken away from their parents and given up for adoption to Ashkenazi families. Now a group of activists is telling the stories of the traumatized families who vow never to forget

What Egypt’s multicultural past teaches us about Israel’s present

By Ktsiaa Alon (Translated from Hebrew by Shaked Spier) Jacqueline Kahanoff’s novel, ‘Jacob’s Ladder,’ strips ‘multiculturalism’ of its cold, academic veneer, displaying instead the reality of a Jewish, multicultural lifestyle. But the novel also directs a powerful question toward Israeli society: can the Arabs that live among us today ever live in Israel the same way […]

Nonviolence is growing in Palestine – an Interview with Mubarak Awad

By Meir Amor At the end of 2000, as the Second Intifada was just beginning to grip the streets of the West Bank and Gaza, Israeli Professor Meir Amor sat down to speak with Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian expert on nonviolent resistance. Fifteen years later, the two met once again to talk about nonviolence, growing […]

The trauma and tragedy of Israel’s vocational education system

By Yossi Dahan (Translated from Hebrew by Alan Horowitz) Across the board, the achievements of vocational school graduates are significantly lower than those of non-vocational high school graduates. What is needed is equality. Nothing more, nothing less Before surrendering to the vision of Stef Wertheimer, Benjamin Netanyahu, Minister of Education Shay Piron and the vocational […]

Why religious Jews are divided over the Temple Mount

By Nissim Leon As tensions between Jews and Muslims come to a head in Jerusalem, it is worth remembering that one of Israel’s most prominent rabbis strictly forbade Jews from visiting Judaism’s holiest site in the wake of the Six-Day War   Recent news reflects a surge in conflict between Muslims and Jews in Israel […]

Israel’s ‘backyards’: First south Tel Aviv, then Holot

By Shula Keshet (Translated from Hebrew by Michal Wertheimer Shimoni) So long as the fight for asylum seekers’ rights — which I have taken part in — remains blind to the fact that Mizrahi slums are the only places carrying the burden of supporting and integrating asylum seekers, any celebration of the High Court to […]

No such thing as ‘half-and-half’: On mixed Mizrahi-Ashkenazi identity

By Itamar Toby (Taharlev) (Translated from Hebrew by Maayan Goldman) The melting pot’s favorite category, ‘mixed,’ doesn’t pass the test of reality: in Israel, banal characteristics like one’s last name, appearance and place of residence, continue to dictate one’s opportunities in life and create an ethnic identity, concerning both class and culture. On Talia Sagiv’s book […]

At the exiled Iranian Parliament in Berlin

By Mati Shemoelof (Translated from Hebrew by Chana Morgenstern) At the exiled Iranian parliament we convened at Café Kotti in Berlin, I look around at my new friends and ask myself: how can civilians destroy the walls the politicians have built with such a lack of imagination, courage, vision and basic human love? It’s not […]

Pathologizing ethnicity: Are Mizrahim really more prone to violence?

A recent article claims that Mizrahim are more prone to violence because they suffer from higher rates of ADHD. 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, […]

The language of death in Bat Yam’s Monument Square

By Eyal Sagi Bizjawi The nationalist machine tries to ‘sell’ city residents a story about honoring ‘defenders.’ But the latter respond: they are not defending anything anymore. They died and all that was left is a monument. The central square in Bat-Yam, my hometown, is known as “the matseva” (“the headstone” or “monument”). As a child […]

Being a Mizrahi Jew, an Israeli and touching the Holocaust

By Batia Shimony 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. A year ago on Holocaust Memorial Day I […]

Complicated justice: Must occupation be the litmus test for the Left?

By Ofer Sitbon While many remember Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, who passed earlier this month, for concluding that there is no occupation of the West Bank, Ofer Sitbon says we must see Levy as an activist judge with strong sense of justice for the underprivileged. Everyone had their own Edmund Levy. Since passing away […]

Fantsy of Superiority: How the Israeli media pits Mizrahi Jews against asylum seekers

By Shoshana Gabay (Translated from Hebrew by Benno Karkabe, Shoshana Gabay and Dana Hadadi) Israeli journalists are doing nobody any favors by blaming the long-time Mizrahi residents for the plight of African asylum seekers in south Tel Aviv. So one must ask: why aren’t journalists actually holding the government accountable? May Golan is a young […]

The ‘reasonable person’ standard and murdering one’s rapist

By Sharon Mayevski (Translated from Hebrew by Maya Naveh and Michelle Bubis) Yonatan Hailu was convicted of murdering his rapist, Yaron Eileen, and sentenced to 20 years in prison because his actions did not meet the “reasonable person” standard. Did the judges not only hear but really listen to his testimony? Did they take his […]

The tragedy of the lost Yemenite children: In the footsteps of the adoptees

By Shlomi Hatuka (Translated from Hebrew by Miriam Erez) Between the years 1948 and 1952, thousands of Yemenite babies, children of immigrants to the newly-founded State of Israel were allegedly taken away from their parents and given up for adoption to Ashkenazi families. Now, poet and activist Shlomi Hatuka goes back and speaks to the […]

Blue or white collar, racism prevails in Israel’s job market

By Yossi Dahan (Translated from Hebrew by Noam Benishei) New research into discrimination in the Israeli employment market reinforces findings from previous studies: the resumes of Yuval Hershkowitz and Eden Almog are still going to generate far more consideration than those submitted by Yuval Amsalem and Waleed Houri. Yuval Hershkowitz, an Ashkenazi Jew, and Yuval […]

How (or how not) to fight rape culture?

By Naama Katiee (Translated from Hebrew by Noam Benishie) The way to fight a culture that allows sexual exploitation is by calling out the problematic sides of the people we love and admire. Just don’t ditch that logic when watching a Polanski film. In the heat of the Eyal Golan scandal, in which the famous […]

Riches to rags to virtual riches: When Mizrahi artists said ‘no’ to Israel’s pioneer culture

By Shoshana Gabay (Translated from Hebrew by Yoav Kleinfeld) Upon their arrival in Israel, Mizrahi Jews found themselves under a regime that demanded obedience, even in cultural matters. All were required to conform to an idealized pioneer figure who sang classical, militaristic ‘Hebrew’ songs. That is, before the ‘Kasetot’ era propelled Mizrahi artists into the […]

Riches to rags to virtual riches: The journey of Jewish Arab singers

By Shoshana Gabay (Translated from Hebrew by Benno Karkabe, Noa Bar and Orna Meir-Stacey) Some of the most revered musicians from the Arab world moved to Israel in the 1950s and 60s, where they became manual laborers and their art was lost within a generation. Now, with the advent of YouTube, their masterpieces are getting […]

Have you murdered and also taken possession?

By Avraham H. Muthada (Translated from Hebrew By Iris Barner) First the moderate Judaism of Mizrahi Jews was trampled and some of them were pushed into an extreme orthodox practice that originated in Europe. Then the Mizrahi Jews were blamed for Ashkenazi-originated orthodoxy, and now MK Ruth Calderon reinvents moderate Judaism as if none of […]

What is Mizrahiness? Seeking answers through questions

By Almog Behar (Translated from Hebrew by Rachel Beitarie‏) What does it mean to be Mizrahi in Israel of 2013? And why is it that Mizrahiness is better expressed in questions than in answers? An exploration following Amnon Levy’s Hebrew-language TV documentary series, ‘The Ethnic Demon.’ What is Mizrahiness? What does it mean to be Mizrahi in […]

‘But you’re not really Mizrahi’: Rewriting an erased identity

By Naama Katiee (Translated from Hebrew by Rachel Beitarie‏) 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. Following Amnon Levy’s Hebrew TV documentary series “The Ethnic Demon” broadcasted on Israeli channel 10″. I’m about to finish high […]

Turning Israel’s port workers into public enemy number one

By Yossi Edry (Translated from Hebrew by Noam Benishie) In May of this year, Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett devised a plan to replace port workers with IDF soldiers in the case of a strike. Not only did Bennett’s spin make for a dangerous contribution to the ongoing incitement campaign against port workers, it also […]

The Yemenite Babies Affair: What if this was your child?

By Shoshana Madmoni-Gerber One of Israel’s most well known journalists casts doubt on one of the most tragic affairs in the country’s history. His conclusion, reached despite self-admitted ignorance on the topic, aligns perfectly with the way the Israeli media handled of Yemenite Baby Affair from day one – glossing over evidence and unquestioningly towing […]

Paving the road for true multiculturalism on Israeli television

By Merav Alush Levron (Translated from Hebrew by Noam Benishie) The ‘Eyal Golan is Calling You’ finale night was a brimming, pronounced and accented Mizrahi broadcast, paving the road for a true multiculturalism and change of viewing habits. Merav Alush Levron on the struggle she partook in to have the finale aired on Channel 2 (and […]

Farsi Miduni: Pushing back against cultural whitewashing

By Orly Noy (Translated from Hebrew by Ela Hadad) Second-generation Iranians in Israel finally allowing themselves to celebrate their unique identity. Do not disturb. In my childhood, as an immigrant from Iran, I was the ultimate “Persian,” always uttered mockingly. I am not sure I understood why pointing out my ethnic origin was supposed to […]

Tel Aviv’s mayoral race: Time for a Mizrahi candidate

By Matan Kaminer The Mizrahi Jewish community is Israel’s largest ethnic group, and its historic links to the Middle East, along with its class position make it a critical component in any revolutionary coalition. Thus, running a Mizrahi candidate will be a clear sign to the residents of south Tel Aviv-Jaffa that they are a […]

An organic intellectual and social justice pioneer: A profile of Shlomo Swirski

By Yossi Dahan (Translated from Hebrew by Aviel Lewis, edited by Ami Asher) A profile of one of the most influential people in the struggle for social justice in Israel. Although he was kept out of academia, perhaps it was for the better. Who knows how much we would have lost had he wasted his […]

‘How can this monkey be talking about an ideology that developed in Europe?’

By Ron Cahlili (Translated from Hebrew by Orit Friedland) ‘We are progress and modernization, freedom and equality, ‘peace and love.’ And they, what are they?’ On the history of the painful relationship between the Israeli Left and Mizrahim. The common wisdom is that Mizrahim and the Left are like oil and water, and that the […]

I Don’t Know Arabic, but I do. And yet don’t

By Tamar Kaplansky (Translated from Hebrew by Orna Meir-Stacey) Watching an Arabic movie every Friday throughout my childhood. Nearly 30 years would pass before I discover that my grandmother and Farid al-Atrash were friends. I have no idea, it goes under my radar. And yet they are there, the words. I don’t know Arabic. My […]