Sunday, May 17, 2009

Mizrachim - Thinking Allowed

The last episode of Thinking Allowed had an item about the Mizrahi Jews of Israel. For Laurie Taylor and possibly for the overwhelming majority of his listeners there was a lot of news to be learned here.

I have experienced myself in many exchanges with people outside Israel that they are not aware of the division between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews and especially not of the implications this has in Israeli society. The Sephardi Jews, literally, are the Spanish Jews. They are the Jews that have a different liturgy from the Ashkenazi, that is literally German Jews. The Ashkenazim are the Jews of European origin and the Sephardi have found their diaspora from the Iberian peninsula, throughout North Africa, the near East until deep into Asia. This is why they are also called: Mizrachim, easterners.

The original zionists were Ashkenazim and they were the founders of the state of Israel. Yet, the mizrachim joined early on and in large numbers immediately after the foundation of the state. In spite of the fact they became 2nd rate citizens in many ways, they came to make up a majority of the population and became quite the political power to reckon with. Here is where Thinking Allowed more or less stops and the modern Israeli may want to add that this has been true until recently but the division between Ashkenazim and Mizrachim in Israel is less pronounced and less important today.

More Thinking Allowed:
The weekly social science stop,
Substance and Sociology,
Hole in the Wall,
Moral relativism,
Male Immaturity.
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