Key Committee Recommends Recognition of Mizrahi Culture

A government committee has called for more Mizrahi Jews in the Council of Higher Education, more research dealing with Mizrahi Jews in higher education, a national day honouring Jews from Muslim countries, school trips to Spain and Morocco, the naming of institutions and street signs after Mizrahi Jews, and the production of a documentary series about the history of Sephardi and Middle Eastern Jewry.

The Biton Committee was formed at the start of the year with the aim of increasing content about Mizrachi Jews in the Israeli school curriculum. It is headed by the poet Erez Biton, who is also an Israel Prize laureate. The report has been endorsed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

A number of NIF grantees have been working for years for greater recognition of the culture, history, and contributions made by Mizrahi Jews to Israeli society. These include the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow Coalition, Memizrach Shemesh, HaOketz, and Achoti. We are proud of their work and will continue to support them in their struggle for a more just and equal society.

In a statement, Biton said: “I’m excited to open for our students a window toward beauty they haven’t yet encountered. The report and recommendations are a statement of legitimacy to a valid Mizrahi identity, without taking anything away from the current Israeli identity. Bennett has given a historic meaning by establishing the committee. This is the first time since the creation of the state that this opportunity has been given – it’s exceptional.”

Photo via Wikimedia Commons
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July 2016