Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Moroccan Jews help newer immigrants

This Jerusalem Post article explains an initiative by Moroccan Jews to fund scholarships for needy new immigrant students in Israel.

"Moroccan Jewry has gone from being an absorbed culture to being an absorbing culture," Sam Ben-Chetrit, presdient of the world Moroccan Federation, told The Jerusalem Post, adding that "Moroccan Jews should help new immigrants because they have already gotten through all the obstacles," he said.

'Ben-Chetrit noted this change in status after setting up 60,000 immigrants from the former USSR and Ethiopia with Moroccan host families across Israel during this year's Mimouna festival, at the end of Pessah. 

'Most Moroccans, and many other Jews who moved to Israel in the 1950s and 1960s from North Africa and other Arab countries, were moved to development towns in the Negev and Galilee. Placed in the nation's frontier regions, these Mizrahi immigrants were marginalized socially and geographically and found it difficult to enter the mainstream, said Oren Yiftahel, professor of political geography at Ben-Gurion University. 

'And although several famous Moroccans have worked their ways out of their disadvantaged position – the actor Zeev Revah, singer Maya Buskila and a slew of Israeli politicians, to name a few – there are still serious challenges facing Israel's Moroccan community resulting from life in the development towns, Yiftahel said. 

"After several generations in Israel, they are part of the population that absorbs [new immigrants]," he said. "On the other hand, as long as there is an overlap between ethnic origin and economic class, the process will never be complete."
Article in full

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