In a 40-minute video recorded June 14, 2021, Dr. Yaron Ayalon of the College of Charleston and Rich Walter of the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta delve into the history and the political and cultural influence of the diverse group of Israeli Jews collectively known as the Sephardim or the Mizrahim. Representing a majority of Israel’s Jewish population, they are an integral part of the Jewish and Israeli stories. Ayalon and Walter address the expulsions from Spain and Portugal, absorption into communities in the Ottoman Empire and Europe, the range of responses to the Ashkenazi-led Zionist movement, the mass immigration of Jews from across the Middle East and North Africa after 1948 and the discrimination they faced in Israel, the rise of the Israeli Black Panther movement and later Shas, Likud’s enduring Sephardi support, the Sephardi experience as an example of a social justice movement, and the joys of Sephardi music and food.

The session was part of the 20th annual Enrichment Workshop on Modern Israel held by CIE and the Emory University Institute for the Study of Modern Israel.