Israel har netop fejret sin uafhængighedsdag, og i den anledning funderer Gideon Levy i Ha’aretz over den jødiske stats sammenhængskraft, eller rettere sagt, han fremmaner billedet af et nærmest på alle måder splittet samfund:

One-quarter of the Jewish state’s population is not Jewish, and one-fifth are members of the Arab nation. The language of the Arabs in Israel, their world, culture and viewpoints certainly do not allow them to be part of “the Israeli people.” Excluded, discriminated against, ostracized, alienated, and secluded in their towns and villages, they certainly are not part of the tribal campfire.

The same is true, but to a lesser extent, of the 1 million immigrants from the former Soviet Union. Among them, too, one can see trends of seclusion and sometimes even arrogance, alongside a measured integration by the second generation. They are all “Russians” rather than Israelis, and it’s doubtful whether this will change in the near future. Fact – even the “Mizrahim”, most of whom have lived here for around 50 years, are still a separate tribe. Possibly due to discrimination and other reasons, they have not found a respectable place in the country’s elite/

Don’t mention the exceptions, don’t talk about the two presidents, the two foreign ministers and the two chiefs of staff – the Jews of eastern origin, and in particular those from North Africa, have not made it here. They have not secured a place of equality two generations after arriving. Most of them live on the outskirts of large cities or in outlying development towns, and a there are still a great many more immigrants from North Africa in prison than in the top echelons.

Every Ashkenazi reader should ask himself how many of his friends are Mizrahim, and every Mizrahi Jew, how many of his friends are Ashkenazi. Let each of us examine whether it’s a matter of chance that we have not had a prime minister of Mizrahi origin. And how many members of the economic, defense, scientific, legal, media and cultural elites are Mizrahim?

The ultra-Orthodox Jews live in their own world, more so now than 50 years ago. You will barely see ultra-Orthodox families today in a secular environment. They have less in common with secular Jews than the secular Jews have with members of other peoples. A visit by a secular person to Mea She’arim is like an anthropological tour. The language, newspapers, customs, dress, culture and even the morals are different.

Levys konlusion? Perhaps not yet lost, but still 10 tribes.

Link: The 10 tribes

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