Sunday, August 19, 2007

Important Paper on Sephardim and Israel


A man whom I am proud to call my friend, Shelomo Alfassa, has just completed a major paper on the importance of Sephardim in the founding of Israel.

Here is his invitation to the paper, and the link to download it to PDF.

(Warning! I have a Mac, and cannot read the paper at all--I had to ask for a plain text copy. If you need one too, please contact Shelomo at the e-mail provided.)

Sephardic Contributions to the Development of the State of Israel
By Shelomo Alfassa / August 16, 2007
Comments may be sent to shelomo @

Over the many centuries, while the Jewish people were exiled from Eres Yisrael (the land of Israel), Jerusalem, Safed, Hevron and other holy cities, retained a sparse Jewish population, fed by a small but constant stream of pilgrims. A cursory examination of Jewish personalities demonstrates that Sephardim took it upon themselves to migrate to and fortify Eres Yisrael, driven by a sense of historic yearning for their ancestral home. Centuries later, Sephardim continued to not only settle in the land, but were key players in its modern development, although this fact has, regrettably, been often eclipsed in the historical narrative. Few documents and small bits of history exist on Jewish national liberation and the development of Eres Yisrael, and how the country came to be with assistance and nurturing offered by Sephardic Jews. It is with tremendous ignominy that the Sephardim have been almost completely marginalized in the modern Zionist record of history. Whether they came from Spain, North Africa or the Middle East, what is fact and needs to be remembered is that Sephardim played a considerable role in the State’s origins and modern fruition. Throughout their centuries in the Diaspora, Sephardim developed and devoted a sense of philosophical and spiritual nationalism that prepared the foundation for which modem Zionism stood on, and the resulting fruit which is the return of the Jewish people to their land.

This motive for the research and writing of this paper came in May 2007 after I received a request from a major American Jewish organization indicating it need assistance in developing a proper repose to an email it had received discussing comments made by an American man, a follower of a major Hassidic movement of Judaism. The man had written:

If it weren't for European Jews, there would be no Israel.
The Sephardic Jews were pervasively Arabic, Persian and
to a lesser extent, Indian. They had nothing to do with the
Jewish state and only came after the establishment to
escape the recriminations they experienced, particularly
in Arab lands.

Of course this indefensible remark is only one man's absurd opinion, and even though he is correct in mentioning Jews were displaced from Arab countries, notably some 900,000, he is erroneous in saying they were "Arabic, Persian and to a lesser extent, Indian," and he is completely mistaken in his initial sentence indicating that, "If it weren't for European Jews, there would be no Israel." The man obviously did not know the history of Sephardic Jews in Eres Yisrael, and that Sephardic Jews fought bravely. side by side, with their Ashkenazic brothers on the battlefield in 1948-fighting for the very survival of the new country.


I invite you to print this paper and read it at your leisure. Also, please feel free to share it with those that may not know about the subject. I am sure that you will find it highly enlightening and will only serve to enhance your love of Israel.

1 comment:

Please do not use comments to personally attack other posters.