Sephardic Jews — Second Class Citizens

April 13, 2008

For the first three years of our marriage, it was necessary for us to live with Ziva’s aunt. This was because of the critical housing shortage in Israel and because of racism. Housing is allotted as follows:

* Ashkenazi Jews who have lived in Israel for many years are given first choice.
* Second in line are Ashkenazi Jews from Europe — especially if they are married or marry an Israel-born Ashkenazi Jew.
* The next favored are Ashkenazi Jews from the U.S. — especially if they marry an Israeli born Ashkenazi.
* Sephardic Jews have the next choice of whatever housing is left.
* At the bottom of the list are Moslems, Druze and Christians.

Opportunities for employment follow the same pattern: Ashkenazi Jews get the choicest jobs, Sephardic Jews next, and Moslem, Druze and Christians fill the menial jobs with a great many left unemployed. Even through I was an Ashkenazi Jew from the U.S., I was placed lower on the list for housing because I married a Sephardic Jewess.

Being denied housing was my second experience of the intense racism that exists in Israel. From the very beginning of my arrival in Israel, many slurs were yelled at me. We American Jews were merely being tolerated. Because Israel, to survive, must depend on gifts of American Jews and the sale of worthless Israeli Bonds in America, there is jealousy among the elite Israeli Ashkenazi Jews toward American Jews, even if the American Jews are also Ashkenazi. Many times I was told, “Go Home!” and, “We want your money, but not you.”

However, there was a portion of the American Jews who were welcome and given favored treatment. They were the card-carrying communist Jews.

Of the 50.000 American Jews who, like myself, had migrated to Israel between 1967 and 1970 about 20% (10.000) of them were Marxist oriented with a great number of them actual card-carrying communists. They were welcomed by the Israeli authorities and local Ashkenazi and were given favored treatment — housing, jobs and social life. It must be noted besides coming from the U.S., a great number of communist Jews were migrating to Israel from Chile, Argentina and South Africa.

Of the 50.000 who had migrated to Israel during that time, 80% of us eventually returned to the U.S. The 20% who remained were those who were card-carrying communist or sympathetic to Marxism.

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