Ahoti, portraits of Mizrahi feminists – Extract

Ahoti, portraits of Mizrahi feminists – Extract


Who were the people who inspired you within Mizrahi feminism? My grandmother. My grandmother got married when she was eight She gave birth to my mother who is the eldest when she was fourteen and a half And she was made to feel very guilty that she had her first period late so she conceived late Because she was a child she was playing peek-a-boo with her husband when he needed her for sex so his family tied her to the bed and cut her braids which is such a symbol of beauty and power for a Mizrahi woman so she’s available to him She arrived in Palestine in 1929 When my mother was ten months She got widowed when she was 27 She was pregnant with her last child who was taken away supposedly because she couldn’t raise him and supposedly he died but we don’t know where he died so he might as well was being sold for adoption Because the kidnapping of Yemeni babies didn’t start in the 50’s Our NGO documented the first cases in the mid 30s from Yemenis who were brought to Palestine as workers My name is Sara Brooklyn where I come from seems far away I am one of the 150 000 members of the Moatzat Hapoalut The Working Women Council of Histadrut responsible for more than half the social work in the country My survey work does not prevent me from showing the girls how to use the highly complicated machinery of the broom Life in the Arab countries is quite primitive and old habits must be changed Poor little one Her mother must be taught not to leave her alone under the burning Sun The Yemenite mothers are fruitful and multiply but they need proper instructions that these babies may grow up to be sturdy Israelis My grandmother refused welfare because she was afraid that her kids are going to be put in boarding schools and in boarding schools whether it was the British Mandate or nowaday Israel they don’t have any screening procedures for pedophiles So boarding schools in Israel are wonderful employers for pedophiles So my grandmother wouldn’t let her children be boarded So she worked She always tell me ‘I have ten fingers’ There is a little children song I have ten fingers and these fingers bring me all of what I have I was always raised that women work because in Israel Mizrahi women work So my grandmother was a great example She… she and her little children were delivering newspapers They even had to pass the British curfew lines in Jerusalem to deliver the Palestine Post for the Palestinians and Haaretz for the German Jews After that she went to clean home and do laundry for Ashkenazim After that or in between she used to sit in the main plaza the Zion Plaza of Jerusalem and sell whatever newspapers were not delivered and just so that she doesn’t waste her time she used to do Yemeni embroidery that then Ashkenazi Jews came and bought from her for a song and sold it for lots of money as like, exotic memorabilia from the Jews of Eretz Israel to wealthy American Jews and European Jews She was my role model for independent woman But again she suffered through so much abuse that she thought it was part of married life and even though I was a feminist and I lived in Berkeley somewhere inside me I guess my subconscious design or my subconscious etching on my soul She passed that to me which is the painful part of growing within the patriarchal system

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