Israeli series exposes raw wounds from ethnic Jewish divide

Masud Deri, Masud DeriThe Associated Press
This undated photo made available by David Deri, the director of the documentary series, “The Ancestral Sin,” shows photographs of Masud Deri, left, and Masud Deritaken the day they immigrated to Israel in March 1963. The electrifying new series on the problematic integration of Middle Eastern Jews by Israel’s European founders in the 1950s has reopened old wounds of an ethnic divide within Judaism. (Courtesy of David Deri via AP)

An electrifying new documentary on the problematic integration of Middle Eastern Jews by Israel's European founders in the 1950s has reopened old wounds of an ethnic divide within Judaism ahead of the country's 70th anniversary festivities.

While Israel is marking the anniversary by highlighting its prosperity and successes, the country is still wrestling with divisions — and not only between Jews and Arabs. For Zionists who view the Jews as a people no less than a religion, the intra-Jewish rift is especially painful.

"The Ancestral Sin" has ignited outrage and disbelief by arguing that the immigrants were systematically marginalized by seemingly bigoted bureaucrats.

The controversy has exposed raw sentiments about the history of relations between Mizrahi Jews, from the Mideast and North Africa, and those from Europe, known as Ashkenazim.

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