Yousef Zahran
Year 24
Month 06
Day 07
Anti Sephardic Discrimination

Anti Sephardic Discrimination

The world of jewish is more ethnically and racially diversed than many people recognize. Today Israelis are facing an identity crisis. Israel society is a fractured community more likely to be divided into different tribes. It is composed of a lot of ethnic groups and sectors with opposition interests.
Jewish people living in Israel today are largely divided into three main groups: Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi.
The Ashkenazies were came from Germany, France and Eastern Europe. The term of "Ashkenazi" comes from the Hebrew word for Germany. Most  Jews today are Ashkenazim, descended from those who arrived from Europe in the mid-1800s and early 1900s.

 


 

The Sephardim were came from Spain, Portugal, North Africa and the Middle East. The term of "Sephardi" comes from the Hebrew word for Spain. Many Jews fled Spain after the end of Muslims rule  in 1492.
Sephardic Jews are often subdivided into Sephardim and Mizrahim, from North Africa and the Middle East. The term "Mizrahi" comes from the Hebrew word for eastern.

 

The Status of Mizrahim and Sephardim in Israel 
There are many discriminations against both Mizrahi and Sephardi community in Israel. There is a deeply complex ethno-religious relations between European Jews and Middle Eastern Jews in Israel. Middle Eastern Jews have for many decades lived as stigmatized citizens of Israel; their traditional Arabic culture and form of Jewish religiosity frequently objects of scorn and prejudice.
Less obvious than the second-class status of Sephardim in Israel has been the gradual assimilation of Sephardic Jews into the dominant Ashkenazi collective. In spite of the fact that Sephardim comprise a substantial percentages of the Israeli Jewish population, in socio-cultural terms they find themselves in a subservient position vis-à-vis the Ashkenazim.


 

 "Discrimination and inequality were always a common practice. Western [Ashkenazi] Jews look down on others. They don't want to grant the Mizrahis power ... They want to fill their prisons with them rather than offering them education, culture and guidance," says Pinhas Aloshi, an Israeli of Tunisian origin.
In the early years of Israel it was over treatment of Mizrahi Jews, who came often without property to a country where Ashkenazis were better-established over the past half century. Iraqi Jews were placed in Ma'abarot, refugee camps, as temporary housing and many of their descendents still live in undevelopmented towns those camps turned into. Unevelopmented towns are socio-economically weaker than most of the country and are difficult to travel to Tel Aviv (where most of the jobs are). 
During the early years of the state, Mizrahi Jews were subjected to ghettoization, cultural theft, and medical experimentation. Most disturbing of all was the alleged kidnapping of hundreds of Yemenite babies during the years 1948-1956. Although Yemenite Jews were viewed by the Zionist establishment as being the most “authentic” Jews, they were still seen through the prism of the East, infected with a disease that could only be cured through a dosage of Western acculturation. “Why destroy the diaspora in Yemen and bring these people who will harm us more than help?” asked Yitzhak Grinboim, Israel’s first interior minister. “By bringing 70 percent of ill Yemenite Jews we will harm both us and them.”

 

Integration of Ethnic Diversities into Politics
Massive economic disparities exist among different communities, since Mizrahi immigrants frequently were brought to Israel by emergency airlifts, arriving with minimal property or wealth. Partially as a way to combat those discrepancies, Israeli political parties are often formed along ethnic lines, such as Shas (Sephardic), Agudas Israel (Ashkenazic), and AtidEhad (Ethiopian Jews).

 

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The Ashkenazi-Mizrahi conflict has been formalized in politics. Shas, a political party which has been part of most governments since its founding in 1984. The stated purpose of the party is to "return the crown to the former  glory", and to repair what it sees as the "continuedeconomic and social  discrimination against the Sephardic population of Israel". This means that it's top priority is the well-being of Mizrahim, specifically ultra orthodox Mizrahim. Shas’ slogan inthe past election was "A Mizrahi votes for a Mizrahi".

 

Racist Remarks of Zionist Leaders
Racist attitudes toward Mizrahim are part and parcel of Israel’s DNA. The founders of the state, Jews of Ashkenazi origin who were raised on European ideas of nationalism and socialism, viewed “Oriental Jews” as backward and primitive from the moment they began arriving en masse on Israel’s shores, shortly after the founding of the state.
To understand the scorn, and at times detestation of Jews from Arab countries in Israel, we must go to the source. There is a number of remarks made by Israeli leaders during the founding years of the state to demonstrate how deeply-rooted these attitudes really were:
“Even the immigrant from North Africa, who looks like a savage, who has never read a book in his life, not even a religious one, and doesn’t even know how to say his prayers, either wittingly or unwittingly has behind him a spiritual heritage of thousands of years…” – David Ben-Gurion.

 


 

Famed Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban described in 1957 how Mizrahi Jews were, in the plainest sense, a direct threat to the nascent State of Israel: The goal must be to instill into them a Western spirit, and not let them drag us into an unnatural Orient. One of the biggest fears is the danger that the large amount of immigrants of Mizrahi origin will force Israel to compare how cultured we are to our neighbors.


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