When Jews of East and West Meet


Introduction “Ashkenazi” and “Sephardic – Mizrahi/Eastern” are terms loaded with destructive social ammunition. The common interpretation of these terms has always been the one who “screws” you and the one being “screwed.” It is common to think that the definition of “Ashkenazi” and “Sephardic – Mizrahi/Eastern” depend on family origin – the Ashkenazi originates from one of the European countries and the Eastern originates from one of the Arab countries, North Africa and even Turkey and Iran.

When, in the first two decades, the Jews who came to live in Israel started to mix many thought that the new generation created from mix marriages of children whose parents were of “Ashkenazi” and “Sephardic – Mizrahi” origins will blur the differences and a new generation will be created of one ethnic faction – the ethnic faction of the children of Israel – an original Israeli. But the reality is deceiving and in spite of the mix marriages, sediments of the past remain active in society and any slight stirring brings up the turbidity that is lying so close to the surface.

The root of this problem lies in the Zionist movement that worked to settle the land of Israel by mass immigration, without taking into considering the social components of the Jews who arrived to Israel, especially those who came from Arab countries and North Africa. The Nazi caused Holocaust exterminated millions of Jews who were potential “Ashkenazi” immigrants. Therefore the establishment of a Jewish state in the land of Israel would have been impossible without the immigration of the “Mizrahi/Sephardic” Jews.” The murderous events by Moslems against Jews in Israel since the end of the 19th century encouraged Arab-Muslims in Arab countries to persecute the Jews in their lands. After World War II and with the establishment of the Jewish state the persecution of Jews increased. Assisted by immigration activists, many “Sephardic” Jews began to immigrate to Israel.

In should be noted that the first waves of initiated immigration to land of Israel were made up purely of secular “Ashkenazi” Jews from Europe who turned their back to the Jewish religion’s rituals and sought to establish a secular Western society to be just like all other nations. In contrast, the “Mizrahi/Eastern” immigration saw the beginning of life in Israel a religious redemption to be lived along their traditional Jewish way of life – as was customary in the their countries of origin.

Here we have to stop and dig into the tension that was created between the two populations, the “Ashkenazi “and the ” Mizrahi/Eastern”. We have to admit that discrimination was the share of the Easterners. Human nature creates homogeneous groups and thus the European immigrants were received and absorbed under better conditions by their receivers’ who were Ashkenazi. The Mizrahi/Eastern absorption was more difficult, not only because of the language barrier, but also because of the cultural differences, despite all of whom were Jews. We can use countless words to tell about the social gaps created in the 50s-60s of the last century and add about the “contribution” of new immigrations from the former Soviet Union countries and Ethiopia to clarify the social picture that is crashes in front of our eyes in Israel.

Today, 65th anniversary to the establishment of the state of Israel when the third native-Sabra generation is standing at the gates of marriage and having a family it is no longer a point in dealing in origin affairs. But it demands of us to thoroughly check the futuristic social portrait and what is needed to rebuild the multitude of people created in Israel from elements so different from each other. From where Jews came to Israel we have learned on our flesh well, wherever Jews lived. Now is the time to discuss where we are heading, and it’s still not all clear and obvious to way too many. What does the Israeli society want to create in the future? This question has only two answers, a Western or Eastern society. Since there is here a use in opposite wind direction – East and West – it is not possible to have a balanced mix between the two. The geographic area of Israel indeed greatly impacts its image as eastern society but if we look beyond the borders of Israel, is the societies there are characteristic of Israel? Not at all. In my opinion, the Israeli Sabra community, an original and interesting mixing of West and East will continue to take shape and become a bright light, more and more unto the nations.

Israels new generation with prime minster Netanyahu and Minister Gideon Saar
Israel’s new generation with prime minster Netanyahu and Minister Gideon Sa’ar
Israel is ME
Israel is ME

During the 2006 second Lebanon War, Nurit Greenger, referenced then as the “Accidental Reporter” felt compelled to become an activist. Being an ‘out-of-the-box thinker, Nurit is a passionately committed advocate for Jews, Israel, the United States, and the Free World in general. From Southern California, Nurit serves as a “one-woman Hasbarah army” for Israel who believes that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.