A poster of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef in Jerusalem
Most Israelis do not categorise themselves as Sephardi or Ashkenazi: the gap has been reduced dramatically with more Sephardim entering higher education and the workforce. The way forward lies with further integration and not with the policies of the ultra-orthodox party Shas, argues Ben Caspit in the Jerusalem Post.
The Sephardic issue made headlines again following the funeral last week of
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who supposedly “returned honor to Sephardic
So, does ethnic discrimination still exist in Israel? Of course it
Discrimination can still be seen in quite a few places. And yet,
after 65 years, clearly the situation is dramatically different than it was in
More than half of children being born today in Israel are of mixed
parentage, the product of a successful melting pot.
Take a look, for
example, at how successful the Russian aliya has been.
complain, they just roll up their sleeves and get down to work.
week, while people were still talking heatedly about Amnon Levi’s show (a recent Israeli TV series - ed) that
dealt with the ongoing problem of discrimination, a thorough and important
research study prepared by Prof. Momi Dahan was published that disproves this
Over the last 15 years, the gap between Sephardic and Ashkenazic
Jews in Israel has been reduced dramatically in almost all fields. A gap still
exists, but it is negligible. We are pointed in the right direction and the pace
According to the study, most Israelis do not categorize
themselves today as Sephardic or Ashkenazic.
They no longer live in a
society that distinguishes between its residents in a way that Shas politicians
and Amnon Levi would have us believe.
The gap in salaries between
Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews has decreased over the past 15 years from 40
percent to 25%, or 1 percentage point each year. The number of Sephardic
Israelis in the top 5% rose dramatically; they are currently represented in this
group in accordance with their percentage in the general population. In the
bottom 5%, their numbers fell dramatically and amazingly enough, there are fewer
Sephardic Israelis in the lowest percentile than their share of the
This important and serious research study confirms a simple
reality: People who’ve clung to the mentality that Sephardic Jews still suffer
discrimination have been left behind, whereas people who’ve decided to take
responsibility for their own lives have advanced.
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Being frank about Mizrahim