Born a color-blind Ashkenazi
The recent exclusion of Sephardi girls from a Beit Ya'acov school in Emmanuel raises afresh the issue of equality between Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews in Israel. Whenever this issue rears its head, I feel that I am on the wrong side. I am an Ashkenazi. Furthermore, I am an Ashkenazi born to a bourgeois Polish-Jewish family. However, I was born color-blind.
The color, or ethnic origin of human beings never meant a thing to me. Perhaps my color-blindness was caused by my childhood in a right-wing Revisionist family.
The national strife against the British rulers, the fight for independence united all ethnic groups within the Irgun.
One of my most memorable memories was the joint suicide of Meir Feinstein, an Ashkenazi, and Moshe Barazami, an Iraqi Jew, a short time before they were due to be hanged by the British Mandatory regime. A hand grenade was smuggled into their cell by the Irgun and both of them blew themselves up hugging each other. When Menachem Begin mentioned their self-sacrifice in an election rally in 1981, my old Revisionist blood rushed to my head. I was a Shinui man then, but remembering these two martyrs, my Revisionist childhood woke up inside me.
- - -