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UCLA Historical Journal

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The Arch of a Sephardic-Mizrahi Ethnic Autonomy in Palestine, 1926 to 1929


This article explores the efforts of Sephardic-Mizrahi leadership to achieve political and cultural independence in the Yishuv between 1926 and 1929. In tracing their  attempts for intra-Jewish ethnic autonomy, I trace the formation of separate Sephardic-Mizrahi settlements and communities, including the inception of a Sephardic bank and establishment of an international Federation with its own economic resources. I examine how and why Sephardic-Mizrahi leaders proposed the idea of a separate “Sephardic-Mizrahi autonomy,” throwing light on Sephardic-Mizrahi agency, chiefly as a result of a growing sense of discrimination within the Jewish community of Palestine. Additionally, I contend that Sephardic-Mizrahi political initiatives evolved in tandem with an internalization of a timeless sense of Sephardic-Mizrahi inferiority, sentiments that continued (and perhaps still continue) to be relevant the discourse about Sephardim and Mizrahim in contemporary Israel and the broader Jewish world.

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