Jewish Israelis with roots in Arab and Muslim countries have faced systemic discrimination for decades. As Jewish political parties court their votes, +972 writer and Local Call editor Orly Noy has a different idea.
It is no secret that for decades, the Zionist left discriminated against Mizrahim, or Jews with roots in Arab and Muslim countries, treating them as second-class citizens and pushing them to the economic, political, and cultural margins of Israeli society.
Mizrahim took matters into their own hands, forming political movements and parties of their own. Their resentment against the left pushed many of them into the arms of the right-wing Likud party.
And yet, says +972 writer and Local Call editor Orly Noy, more than 70 years after Israel’s founding, Mizrahim are still fighting for small wins from the Ashkenazi elite, whether on the left or the right.
“Any mechanism that was set to discriminate against Palestinians, in a way, discriminates against Mizrahim as well,” said Noy. “As long as you are collaborating with the system that keeps pushing back the Mizrahim to the periphery of the society along with the Palestinian citizens, then you will always be fighting the Ashkenazi hegemony for crumbs, and that just doesn’t make sense.”
Noy believes Mizrahim now have an opportunity to move beyond the left-right politics that have kept them marginalized — by standing alongside Palestinian citizens of Israel.
“The more rational thing is to join those who want to change the political construction altogether,” added Noy, and taking part in “something that, its starting point is full equality.”