Longing for a place they never saw: The sad saga of Mizrahi Jews

 

 

A few years ago, a book titled “Echoes of an identity: A third-generation who writes Mizrahi,” was published in Israel. It is a collection of accounts of third generation Israelis of Middle Eastern descent, expressing their sense of identities. The book speaks of the failure of Israel to become a melting pot where all Jewish sects completely fuse together. In a sense, that such a book exists at all demonstrates how Mizrahi identity was able to leave a mark on the Israeli cultural scene.

Nevertheless, we cannot speak of a centralized Mizrahi cultural movement that impacts the community or Israeli society in general. The “movement” is still confined to Israeli intellectuals of Middle Eastern origins. In a Haertz article, poet Mati Shmuelof meticulously describes the contradictions within the Mizrahi identity. He speaks of how the same Mizrahi Jew who adopt a weekly routine of watching Arabic movies on Saturday nights, admiring Arab artists like Fouad al-Mohandes and Farid al-Atrash, would then shout “death to the Arabs” and vote for right-wing parties like Shas and Likud — only because he despises the Ashkenazis who vote for labour: the well groomed “European” leftist party.

Part of the article of Nael AlToukhi — How Hebrew teaches us something about ourselves, Part 5

מודעות פרסומת

אודות Mati Shemoelof

Mati Shemoelof is a poet, author and editor. His writing is diverse and includes six poetry books, plays, articles and fiction. His works have won significant recognition and prizes.
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