From an Israeli Mizrahi Jewish Ally

Hebrew version

I visited Morocco, for the first time in my life, to participate as an ally in the Muslim Liberation Workshop [see previous article]. I am an Israeli Jew with a Moroccan background. It was a big contradiction [to distress] for me to travel to Morocco, hear the Moroccan language, eat the food I knew from my home, actually be with my people for the first time, and connect to being Arab.

Jews of Moroccan origin are oppressed in Israel by Ashkenazi Jews. Many parts of our Arab-ness have been suppressed and repressed. Visiting Morocco was an opportunity to connect more fully with my heritage and, because of that, to a deeper understanding of who I am. I also realized for the first time what it was like for my Jewish family to live in a Muslim country, and what it is like to be a Jewish minority among an Arab majority.

I came to the workshop with a close friend of mine, a Palestinian woman to whom I have been teaching RC one-on-one over the last few years. It seemed like an appropriate continuation of the road we have been traveling together. A Muslim-majority workshop in a Muslim country where Arabic is the main language seemed like the right place for her to get into the RC Community. She got to meet other Muslim and Palestinian women who are also observant. I think that helped her feel secure and know that what we are doing is completely for her. Azi and Nazish created the best possible conditions for her to feel safe and to do the work she needed to do.

As an Israeli Jewish ally to Muslims in general, and Palestinians in particular, I was able to face my oppressor distress. I worked hard to feel good about myself and who I am. I had to face hard feelings of being unloved and unwanted. Some people were surprised to hear that I was from Israel, and I needed to discharge the feelings of guilt that came up, to remember that I deserve to live.

I now better understand how crucial Mizrahi Jews and Arab Jews are to building the bridge between Jews and Muslims and between Jews and Palestinians. As a Mizrahi Jew from an Arab background, I need to reclaim my Mizrahi-Arab identity.

Merchi Shukroon Lior

Tuval, Israel

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Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00