Monday , August 15 2022

Jewish spies Mizrahi Israel raised, their descendants meet racism there – Israel News



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In 1951, my great-grandfather was executed in Baghdad, Iraq. He was accused by the government of being an Israeli spy.

My grandmother always told us that things were never the same after the Farhud, a two-day pogrom full of vandalism and violence against the Jewish population of Baghdad that occurred during Shavuot in 1941. All Iraqi Jews were considered an agent Israel.

Although America closed its gates to Middle Eastern Jews, my family heard a word about a safe haven for the Jewish people: Israel. Soon after, Israeli spies and Israeli security forces came to rescue them on airplanes, around the same time as my father's parents arrived in Israel from Tunisia, in the same way as forcing them out of & t Their country. Tunisia was not so violent towards his Jews with Iraq, but the oppression and the institutional discrimination against the Jews was unbearable. So both sides of my family took a chance on the new state that came to the fore by promising a safe refuge for every Jew.

Most Israeli Jews, like my family, came from Arab and Muslim countries, an inconvenient fact for some critics in the State of Israel today. Far from being a white colonial entity, the truth is that Jews in Israel have suffered as much as oppressive and racist governments as other “brown” peoples around the world.

However, along with being kicked out of their home countries – where my family felt they belonged but they were never “Arab enough for the Arabs” – Mizrahi Jews also often feel like second class citizens in Israel. Many Mizrahi Jews were not considered “enough Israel” for Ashkenazi founders.

In fact, most of the stories are about Israel's fundamental focus on Ashkenazi's figures such as David Ben-Gurion and Chaim Weizmann, all rooted in Eastern and Western Europe.

This is also the main narrative in Israel today – that's why Matti Friedman's new book is long overdue.

Spies of No Country, the third book by the Israeli journalist, shares the gripping and earlier stories of four Mizrahi Jews who took part in a spy unit called the Arab Department. The unit, which was entirely Jewish from Arab lands, was part of the underground pavement before the modern state of Israel and the Israeli Defense Forces were established after independence.

Instead of paying Arab colleagues for expensive and unreliable information, the Arab Department trained Jews who had grown up in the Arab world to pass as non-Jewish Arabs. As money was limited and resources were scarce, these spies were often forced to be creative and crack out.

These were not ordinary spies, in the sense that a spy collected information and transferred it to a foreign country. These spies were citizens of Arab countries who were spying for a country that wasn't even a country yet.

In other words, these spies sacrificed everything for an idea of ​​a country that the European Jews ran.

What was the impetus behind their commitment to an unborn country, a country whose parents did not admit their new Mizrahi children?

Friedman's approach to this history of Israel is often dear, and has been a taboo for many authors.

Early reviews of the book have got to grips with the thrilling stories of spy and double identity. But there is more to these raw, painful and inspiring stories: Friedman's book reveals the complex reality of these faithful Israelis who were challenged, exhausted and repeatedly dismissed by Ashkenazi Jews.

The Jews of Mizrahi are facing Jewish and Ashkenazi Jews – and they are still doing so today. The Arab and Islamic countries in the Middle East actively remove the history of their Jewish communities. Egypt was home to 75,000 Jews before 1972; there are only a few dozen left today. The Iraqi population once has 150,000 strong has reached the same fate, and none of the quarter of a million Jews who lived in Syria and Libya remain.

In Israel, Mizrahi Jews remain a minority under-represented. They comprise less than 9 per cent of the members of the academic faculty of Israel. There was never a Mizrahi theater director in Israel, who was never head of Mizrahi public broadcasting, ever Mizrahi state attorney – and never Mizrahi prime minister. We still face discrimination, whether our society wants to accept it or not.

Today, many Mizrahi Israelis speak, dress and behave differently from their Ashkenazi Israeli brothers. Marriages between Mizrachim and Ashkenazim have removed some of the most obvious social differences.

But the Mizrahi Jews who helped build Israel again had not been given the choice to assimilate.

Arabic was not only native Arabic speakers, the language of the enemies of Israel, but their culture, dress and identity were similar to those of those who attempted to destroy the new Jewish state. Nobody wanted an “Arab” culture.

One of the heroes of the book, Gamliel Cohen, described how difficult it was to find a kibbutz that he would accept as a member because of his Mizrahi origins. After he found one of the end, in 1940, it is frustrating that “the keepers of the culture of Israel” refuse to play Arabic music.

I imagine that Gamliel had captured the same music that I grew up with and enjoyed it today. I still remember how much I loved when my grandmother played Italian music Kulthum from the singer from Egypt to me – and I still remember & # 39 the pain I felt when my Ashkenazi teacher heard in elementary school about my favorite Arab artist and laughing with my whole class.

Mizrahi's culture is rich, dating back thousands of years. Again, rather than to celebrate, we are told that we should be ashamed of it. That is what many of these “keepers of Israel's culture” told us, as they celebrated Western and European culture, since the beginning.

As a proud Mizrahi Jew, he was moving to read the stories of these heroes in the State of Israel, and I think this book should be added to the reading list of all Israeli secondary schools. Perhaps then the next generation of Mizrahi children will not have to experience the same pain I have to feel.

Whether you are interested in the history of Israel's land or just enjoy a good espionage story, Friedman provides an unprecedented insight into the complex and deep history of Israel's sbycraft.

The global Jewish community is diverse and multicultural, but the Jewish homeland has always been in the East. In the East the Jewish people began, and today Israel is held in Israel and continues to thrive.

The rich history of Western scholars should not diminish or remove the rich history of Eastern Jews, including the vital role they played in establishing the State of Israel. Fortunately, Friedman's pioneering book provides an essential example of how to avoid that.

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