Never have so many Mizrahim been on television’

Although she churlishly accuses Netanyahu of abhoring Mizrahim and not doing enough to give them real responsiblity, Carolina Landsmann writes in Haaretz that under his watch Israel’s socio-ethnic fabric in the public domain has
changed beyond recognition. (With thanks: Lily):

The Moroccan Miri Regev and the half-Iraqi Ayelet Shaked (centre) are two Mizrahi ministers in the Netanyahu government

Poet and social activist Shlomi Hatuka excitedly summed up
the torch-lighting ceremony: “I’ve never seen so many Mizrahim on
television.”

Indeed, it’s hard to deny that under
Netanyahu, the gates that kept Mizrahim excluded have been breached, and
their visibility is undeniable, much to the chagrin of the Ashkenazim.
But contrary to Lula (The disgraced Brazilian president), who fought passionately his
whole life for the workers, the poor and the blacks – Netanyahu and his
wife seem to genuinely harbor a hatred for the poor. Netanyahu is not
being persecuted, he is the political persecutor. Netanyahu cannot take
credit for the liberation of the Mizrahim.
He uses the Mizrahi cause to incite and conquer, not to remedy an
imbalance or to build a common, equal and just ethos.

Even though Netanyahu has acted cynically,
can one ignore the fact that under his governance, the socio-ethnic
fabric of the public domain has changed beyond recognition? That Miri
Regev is the culture minister and it wasn’t Yariv
Levin or Yuval Steinitz who took over for the prime minister when he
was under anesthesia? It’s easy to scoff at the status the premier has
given to Regev, but isn’t the dismissal of a formal role a form of
covert racism: She is the deputy prime minister only
because he is not in mortal danger? When Regev is culture minister,
does that position not carry the same kind of weight as it would if
given to an Ashkenazi? Is it really of no importance that the
70th Independence Day festivities were designed just as she pleased,
or that the Mizrahi narrative has become the bon ton when it comes to
political correctness today?

Netanyahu has groomed only the
“professional representatives” of Mizrahim and not those with genuine
talent. To the former, he grants at most the job of filling in, but
never of really being in charge. And he threatens to make the
heads of the latter roll whenever they dare to truly do their jobs –
out of loyalty to the public and not to Netanyahu – as is the case with
Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh. This also explains the
conflicted feelings many on the Ashkenazi left have for Netanyahu: They
hate him for advancing the Mizrahim, but admire him for blocking them
with a glass ceiling.

And herein lies the hope: Alsheikh
symbolizes the Mizrahi distancing from Netanyahu and perhaps also the
birth of a new historic narrative in which – against his will, and
completely contrary to his political intentions – the prime
minister has acted as the donkey of the Messiah of the Mizrahi
revolution.

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2 Comments

  • this woman usually vents her spleen when writing and she usually understands only about 1/2 or 1/3 of what she is writing about. It's easy to write out of ignorance –not total ignorance to be sure– when you are writing for haaretz. Just strike the right tone of holier than thou and moral superiority to everyone else. At haaretz real knowledge of any subject is not as important as the right feelings. As to Mizrahi Jews, haaretz has been one of major offenders over the years. Maybe their line is changing but still don't trust them.

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