Jewish History and the Sephardim
A new political situation has surfaced in Israel in recent years with the rise of the Sephardim—a term referring to Jews from the lands along the Mediterranean littoral and the Middle East, including the Muslim countries—to a majority position in Israeli life. This development has been the subject of a fair amount of newspaper coverage, but much of that coverage, as Daniel J. Elazar points out in the March 1983 COMMENTARY (“Israel’s New Majority”), has been ill-informed or tendentious. Elazar writes that a kind of myth has been created to the effect that Ashkenazim (Jews from Eastern Europe and the West) are liberal and civilized whereas Sephardim (who are also known as “Orientals”) are wild and undemocratic. Since the myth is untrue, and since in any case, according to Elazar, the Sephardim who helped put Menachem Begin into power mean to keep things that way—they now constitute some two-thirds of Herut-party membership, and the Likud coalition in which Herut dominates “is likely to become and remain the country’s majority party”—it is crucial that we know who the contemporary Sephardim are and what may be the implications of their rise in influence.
Whatever weight one puts on the apparent political divide—which may not be as rigid as the clichés often suggest—the role of the Sephardi/ “Orientals” in Israel is certainly a major factor; and one is likely to make more sense of it if one turns from day-to-day politics to the historical background. If the new majority in Israel, with its own set of attitudes, is going to exert a particular kind of influence on the country, the historian wants to know how these attitudes may have been molded by past experience, and how deeply they are therefore likely to affect the development of society in Israel. In effect we have to ask ourselves, in looking at the new majority in Israel, whether we may be witnessing a turning-point in Jewish consciousness.
Until now, the image most modern Jews have had of themselves has been dominated by the experience of Ashkenazi Jews—by far the majority of Jews in the world in the last few centuries. But in the long view this is misleading. As soon as one considers Sephardi and “Oriental” Jewish history, one becomes aware of an ancient world, almost a dream world, in which the drama of being a Jew was couched in very different terms.
At its simplest, the contrast is between Jews growing up in Christian and Muslim worlds. Those in the Christian West have an image of themselves which took shape in the last two centuries, at the crossing-point between Jewish social exclusiveness, unchanged in character for centuries, and entry into an open society in which the values offered (not always consistently) were those of political and cultural liberalism distilled in part from centuries of Christian tradition. This same tradition, to be sure, had maintained barriers against Jews which could be barbaric and murderous.
It was this which led some—the early Zionists—to turn away from Europe and work for a land of their own. Yet it was still taken for granted by these Zionists that the community they were striving to establish would enshrine the European ideal of the open society. A harmony was thereby established between those Jews remaining in the West and enjoying the privileges of emancipation and those in Palestine and then Israel where society was developing on the same lines, with politics and law conducted according to basic Anglo-American principles, and culture reflecting the highest Western forms. If the ethos of Israel could in one important sense be described as essentially Jewish, stemming from principles originally expressed in the Bible, politically the prime mover behind that ethos was the liberal idealism of Christian society, an idealism which had been felt with great potency even in the Jewish backwaters of 19th-century Russia, where political freedom was symbolized by England and America, and the revolutionary spirit by France. There can be no doubt that the creation of the state of Israel was an end product of the latent energy and aspiration of this Ashkenazi heartland, combining in a unique way an inward-looking concentration on kinship and an outward sense of participation in contemporary world culture.
Ashkenazi Jews have been quite content until now to see the Jewish spirit of Israel defined in these terms, since the Ashkenazim can claim such a numerical dominance in world Jewry. Their welcome to refugees from Muslim lands has, in fact, been in tune with this approach, in which the goal for the Sephardim has been to become in time, as it were, “Ashkenized.” But how is a Sephardi/“Oriental” Jew expected to feel about this historically?
Perhaps the first thing that needs to be borne in mind in considering the Sephardim is the fact that from the close of the biblical period and almost until the dawn of the modern era, theirs was in effect the dominant position in Jewish life. In the early Christian centuries, long before the word “Sephardi” was used in this sort of context, the mass of Jews lived in what is now Iraq, Iran, Arabia, and the lands of the Eastern Mediterranean; and even though they soon began to spread further afield, the Jewish faith, expressed in ritual and learning, took its shape for all centuries to come from the Jewish authorities in “Babylonia” (modern Iraq). This position was intensified during the amazing expansion of the Muslim empire from the 7th to the 12th centuries. It was in the 12th century that the Spanish-Jewish traveler Benjamin of Tudela made his famous tour of the Mediterranean and the Near East, providing statistics in his travel book which indicate, according to the historian Salo Baron, that world Jewry may then have totaled between one and two million, “the large majority under Islam.”
Even after the Western Muslim empire collapsed in the later Middle Ages, the Sephardim—including those in Christian Spain—remained dominant. It is thought that perhaps 250,000 Jews were living in Spain at the time of the traumatic expulsion of 1492. Nearly half of them found a brief refuge in Portugal, before being persecuted there in 1497. Then, in a sequence that constituted a partial and temporary remedy to these tragic events, the Sephardim rose again through the growth of the Ottoman empire, into which they were welcomed. The conditions under which refugee Jews from the Iberian peninsula moved to many lands—particularly in North Africa, Turkey, Greece, and Italy—may have been desperate, but they brought with them professional skills, trading connections, and a cultural legacy which dwarfed anything that had emerged at this time in the Ashkenazi background. The Jews in the Ottoman empire, though separate religiously, were intimately linked with the political and economic world around them, growing swiftly in numbers and prosperity. In sharp contrast, the impoverished Jewish settlements in Poland at the time had a total population of not more than 10,000 or 15,000.
By the 17th century, however, as the Ashkenazi Jewries of Eastern Europe began to expand, laying the foundation for what was to come, the world of the Sephardim, despite pockets of wealth and influence, had begun a decline into relative obscurity which was to intensify in the following centuries. By the dawn of the 20th century, four-fifths of world Jewry resided in the mostly Ashkenazi regions of Central and Eastern Europe. It is ironic that it was only when this Ashkenazi world achieved the triumph of its aspirations in the creation of Israel that the Sephardim returned to a significant position in Jewish life.
In contemplating the reaction of Sephardim to the modern situation, one must note that although most of them now in Israel derive from Arab/Muslim lands, not all of them do. The first community to transplant itself to Israel after the 1948 war was, in fact, the Jewry of Bulgaria, going back in origin to the 15th-century refugees from Spain and Portugal, and retaining its “old” Sephardi character in speech and customs. Out of 40,000 Jews in Bulgaria, 90 percent settled in Israel. The same original source lay behind the communities of Turkey, Greece, and Yugoslavia, which were heavily though not so exclusively Sephardi, and which produced more than 50,000 immigrants to the new state. And even within the much larger pool of immigrants from the “Oriental” lands of the Near East, there is an influence historically from the old Sephardim of Spain.
But the Holy Land contained many Jews who could be called “Oriental” long before the establishment of Israel. Some of these had lived there for centuries, others had been stimulated to come when Muslim rule in their own lands became particularly oppressive. There had been waves of immigration from Yemen in 1882 (coinciding with the Bilu immigration from Eastern Europe) and again in 1908, with Yemenite Jews concentrating in service and building trades, and in their own agricultural settlements. From Persia, where Jews had often enjoyed a rich and cultured life, there had been similar immigrations at bad moments, notably in the 1880′s. Something analogous happened in Morocco in the 1860′s, stimulated by the remission of a particularly crippling emigration tax on those leaving for the Holy Land.
Once in Palestine, Jews from these “Oriental” countries, and from the Balkan countries mentioned above, tended to live in their own areas, especially in Jerusalem, retaining individual religious rituals and folk languages, and remaining distinctive in clothing, song, and dance—to the great interest of ethnographers and the pleasure of tourists. At a more sophisticated level these early “Oriental” Jews were often financially solid and well-educated, constituting a “colony” of Palestinian Jews of considerable distinction.
But the mass inflow after the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948 dwarfed all this. From Arab/ Muslim lands adjacent to Israel, more than half-a-million Jews were driven in successive waves to the new state. Even when they had not been poor and disadvantaged in their homelands, they now faced hostility there of a fierceness that effectively prevented them from making any arrangements to sell or transport their possessions. The scale and character of this migration posed colossal problems for those who received them in Israel and attempted to get them started in a new life.
The historical transformation was extraordinary. Jews had lived in these countries—Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, and Yemen/Aden—for at least two thousand years, and through all this time had been unwaveringly loyal to their ancient faith. Over so many countries, the political and economic circumstances in which they lived had varied tremendously, but there was one common factor which would now become highly relevant: the experience of living for so long in an intimate relationship with Arab and other local peoples and speaking the local languages as their own.
They were, in effect, not so much Sephardi Jews as Arabized (and Persianized) Jews. There was a dark side to this. To summarize: the Koran and the “Convention of Omar” had defined Jews living in Muslim countries as “dhimmi”—protected—but this “protection” involved submitting to a host of restrictions denoting a permanently inferior status, and the payment of special taxes. Though all infidel “peoples of a book”—mainly Jews and Christians—were covered by the so-called protection, the effect on Jews is easier to follow because of the unity and tenacity of Jewish memory. The restrictions on them were applied with varying intensity, but merely to list some of them is to convey the character of the relationship so entailed. Under the Convention of Omar, the dhimmi were to keep the height of their houses—and tombs!—low, to indicate their low status. In the presence of a Muslim they were to stand, and to move out of the way in humility when a Muslim passed in the street. They were not to ride on horses or mules but only on donkeys, and were not to carry arms. They were not to resemble Muslims in their clothing or hairdressing, but were to wear yellow clothes, girdles, and hats. They were not to have Muslim servants, or to be employed in a government position that would give them authority over Muslims. According to the strict law, trading with Muslims was hampered or forbidden, and dhimmi were not to serve them as doctors, which would give them power over the faithful. Sometimes the rulers were even more fanatical, like the Almohades of the 12th century, who turned all restrictions into a “final solution”—conversion or death.
One cannot ignore the broad oppressiveness of these rules, even though one knows that they are not the whole picture. Jews did rise in many places to the highest government positions, were active in trade, and were trusted as doctors and bankers. The top Jewish financial advisers—like the Netira family in 10th-century Baghdad—had immense power; and something of this kind happened in every “Oriental” country. Apart from the power that flowed in every era to a few leading families, there were whole periods in which the life of ordinary Jews was perfectly acceptable even in this basically hostile Arab world. The Jews were rooted in these lands, and content to live in their own areas, practicing some traditional trades (such as dyers and gold and silver workers), but found in every kind of occupation. In some countries, notably Iraq, they were often dominant in a large area of commercial life from ancient times onward.
Yet even Jews with great authority—like the vizier Abu Sa’ad in 11th-century Egypt—were liable to be executed summarily when envy or intrigue took over. As for the taxes on dhimmi, the most specific was a poll tax (jizya) laid down in the Koran, usually fixed at different rates for rich and poor, but still representing a crushing burden which Jewish leaders sometimes took over communally to avoid the punishment that non-payment brought. It would not be surprising if “Oriental” Jews had carried with them to Israel some old memories of the humbling, contemptuous status assigned to them in the world of their fathers, even if this is by no means the whole story.
How far back is the Jewish history of these lands relevant? It might seem enough for practical purposes to consider mostly the recent experience, going back only three or four generations, in which family memory is still vivid from the aged to the very young. What with the fearful German presence in North Africa in World War II and the Arab-Jewish conflict in the Holy Land, these last decades included bad times for Jews. But in transferring to Israel, they carried with them also some inspiriting impulses of their life as Jews running back further into their past and marking them out clearly in the predominantly Ashkenazi communities of Israel. Certainly the distinctive cultural history of Jews in Arab/Muslim lands has qualities uniquely important to any definition of what being a Jew means.
Even if the Jews existed within Islam under humiliating conditions, they had been liberated—indeed, transformed—during the early huge expansion of the Muslim empire, and continued to enjoy the benefits of the culture transmitted uniquely in the Arabic language even after the Arabs themselves had fallen, in the 10th century, under the rule of foreign soldier castes, mostly of Central Asian and Caucasian origin. The Jews first swept forward from East to West, reaching a high point in Moorish Spain from the 9th to 11th centuries, after which, to escape persecution, they moved across North Africa from West to East. In the course of this, their own Jewish life in all these countries was strongly local in organization, yet at the same time part of an open society stretching across the Mediterranean and to many countries in the East and North. It is of central importance that even after the Arab empire withered away, the Jews who had developed within it retained certain qualities of mind and culture which reflected the earlier symbiosis between Jews and Arabs and which became part of the patrimony of all Jews everywhere, Sephardim and Ashkenazim alike.
It is not uncommon to find the rich cultural life of the Jews under Islam defined in the catchall terms of the “golden age” of Spain (roughly the 10th through the 12th centuries) with its roster of scholars, poets, and viziers. But this “golden age” would not have emerged unless Jews and Arabs had long been involved with each other far more strongly and creatively than most of us normally realize. I am not referring now to the presence of Jews throughout Arabia at the time of Muhammad, or to their influence on him in creating Islam, interesting though this is historically. In a much more visible way, the early centuries of Islam brought into Jewish life new elements which henceforth became part of the common identity of European Jews.
The eminent scholar Shlomo Dov Goitein has highlighted two factors of this kind—among many others—in his extremely stimulating book, Jews and Arabs.1 The first is the role of Arabic in developing Hebrew, and the lasting effect this had, reaching into our own times with the emergence of modern Hebrew. “The Arabs,” he writes, “have always been fervently attached to their language . . . the cult of language being almost the sole content of their original civilization.” The basic reason for the astonishing diffusion of Arabic throughout the whole of the world in the early centuries was that “the Arabs’ enthusiasm for their precious inheritance so infected the peoples who came under their rule that they strove with all their might to speak, or at least to write it.”
This illustrates a crucial difference between Jews and Arabs. The Arabs concentrated on language, the Jews on ideas. According to Goitein, it was unthinkable to Arabs that the Koran should be read in any language but Arabic, whereas “the Hebrew Bible was translated by the Jews themselves and for their own use into Aramaic, Greek, Arabic, and many other languages.” With this different approach, it was not until the Jews became closely involved with the Arabs, “the worshippers of language,” that they began to specialize in comparative studies of grammar and philology, which led in the “golden age” to a leap forward in the use of Hebrew, particularly for poetry, with a grace and flexibility that transformed the language for all succeeding time. It was in poetry, particularly in Spain, that the most perfect expression of Jewish-Arabic symbiosis was achieved: “A poem by, perhaps, Judah Halevi—graceful in form, unfailing in wording, forceful in feeling and thought—overwhelms the reader with the complete harmony which is the surest indication of true culture.”
But this lasting cultural grace would not have found a setting in which to flower without a development that Goitein calls “the bourgeois revolution,” which once again affected the permanent identity of the Jews. In the centuries before Islam, the Jews of Arabia and adjacent lands had lived, like those around them, in family “tribes,” mainly on the land, with old skills, and only gradually moving into urban life to escape hardship. This quiet life, conducted strictly according to the Halakhah (talmudic law), was totally transformed from the 7th century on when, in the wake of the Arab conquests, the Jews began to move out of traditional occupations into a new and lasting prominence in commerce, banking, industry, and the free professions.
The basic reason for this, as given by Goitein, is that “in the upheaval caused by the conquests, a general movement of capital set in in all the countries between Spain and India.” Treasures guarded for ages were thrown onto the market and sold by Jews and Christians; a piquant example is the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the ancient wonders of the world, bought by a Jewish scrap dealer and converted into 900 camel loads of bronze. Cheap labor became available for the development of industry in the newly burgeoning cities. Financiers came forward to help equip the conquering armies, to build roads, and to promote seagoing trade expeditions. There is obviously a straight line from this to the economic renown that some famous Jews and countless anonymous traders began to acquire in succeeding centuries. As one beholds the Jews in motion from North Africa to Spain and later with connections stretching into Turkey, Greece, Italy, and the Far East, one recognizes what the historian H.H. Ben-Sasson has called the “colonizing” role played by Jews in the opening up of Eastern and Western Europe in later centuries, and subsequently of the Americas.
Behind the sophisticated writings of the poet-philosopher Judah Halevi and the great religious thinker Moses Maimonides, then, one has to posit a relaxed “bourgeois” setting in which the pursuit of culture found greater encouragement than had been generated earlier by the narrow and exclusive pursuit of Talmud study. It was one of the accidents or miracles of history—one can choose either term or both—that those Jews who were swept into the expanding Arab orbit in these centuries were able to share on equal terms the stimulus of Greek, Persian, and even Indian cultures that fell into the Arabic language during and after the conquests and that flowed on from there to steer the European world into the Renaissance. The Jews played a very active part in all this; and whatever the ebb and flow in Jewish cultural history over the centuries, the legacy of a culture shared at some time with host “Oriental” countries established a sense of community very different from the isolation characteristic for a long time of the Ashkenazi background.
Some of this legacy of belonging or sharing must surely be alive still among Jews from “Oriental” countries, refuting the notion that they pursued for centuries a separate, bottled-up existence, out of which they have only now emerged.
In conversation with “Oriental” Jews in Israel today, one hears, behind the stories of uncertainty or hardship, the note of some special happiness and privilege that came to them as Jews, evinced in the joys of Sabbath and weddings, or in the legendary radiance of the great families—like the Sassoons or the Kedouries—that originated in the Near East and shed luster on all. This must surely enhance the historical image that “Oriental” Jews have of their own ancestry. And the sense of tradition which they draw from the world of their fathers can also be enriched at more sophisticated levels—as in the huge expansion of interest in “Oriental” folklore in Israel. In addition, a profusion of recent books has brought to life in wholly new ways the flavor of existence in these lands in centuries past.
One unique factor here is the opening up in this century of the treasure trove of the Geniza (store place), a vast horde of documents, deposited from the 10th century on, in a synagogue cupboard in Old Cairo and only properly examined in this century. The Geniza has yielded not merely ancient sacred texts but a vast range of historical and literary documents and personal archives—mostly in fragmentary form—covering business, community, and family relationships. The archives include such things as panegyrics and elegies on great leaders side-by-side with letters home from traders in far-off India; the whole adds up to a picture of Jews in North Africa as lively and sophisticated communities, passionately Jewish in observance and loyalty, but very much part of the wider world.2
In a different way but to the same effect, the daily life of the ordinary people of the “Oriental” world is also illuminated through a study of responsa—answers sent by renowned rabbis to questions put to them from far-off lands on matters arising in Jewish law. Thus, a scholarly work on the responsa of Rabbi Simeon ben Zemah Duran of Algiers (1361-1444) offers a very lively account of how Jews looked after themselves in trade, matrimony, public rights, and self-government.3 It is clear from Rabbi Simeon’s responsa that in his time the Jews of Morocco were relatively quite free to lead their own lives.
In sharp contrast, one also learns of desperate conditions in some “Oriental” countries. From faraway Yemen, for example, communal leaders wrote in 1172 to the great Maimonides in Egypt, asking how they were to deal with a man claiming to be the messiah. The Shi’ite rulers of Yemen had put before the Jews the terrible alternatives of conversion or death. Many Jews were converting to Islam; and the leaders of Yemen Jewry wanted to know if this awful situation should be looked on as pre-messianic—an age so dark that it had to signify the advent of the promised redemption. In his long reply, which is timeless in its Jewish validity and which became famous as the Epistle to Yemen, Maimonides warned against succumbing to fantasy. This was not the way the messiah would come; the Jews had to bear their trials calmly and with hope. To help in a practical way, Maimonides used his influence at court in Egypt to obtain a lessening of the heavy burden of taxation on the Jews of Yemen.
It is clearly a distinctive feature of the history of the Jews in these “Oriental” countries that there was contact and movement among them, transforming the isolation of individual communities. Sometimes there are high points of great significance for the future of the Jewish people as a whole, as when the pull toward the Holy Land in the 16th century took Joseph Caro, the great legal codifier of the Shulhan Arukh, from Turkey to Safed; and Isaac Luria, founder of Lurianic Kabbalah, from Egypt to the same magic town. One is also aware, within the total picture, of different attitudes to Jewish life in different countries, reflecting the way communities were influenced by the political and social setting. The degree of such influence is an issue which has greatly concerned scholars, and which overflows into the current situation.
One sees this issue operating historically over long stretches of time. In learned terms it is set out, for example, in a scholarly argument over whether independent Jewish self-government in 10th-century Egypt was a reflection of the determination of the new Fatimid dynasty to be free of outside control or a natural development from within the Jewish community itself in response to its own needs.4 Coming to our own times a thousand years later, one sees the historic conditioning of individual communities projected onto their responses to the new world of Israel. Thus, studies indicate that the Jews of Iraq and Yemen, who come from a settled Jewish background, have tended to be stable, while half-assimilated Jews from the French colonies of Algeria and Morocco are more liable to be disturbed and aggressive.
One can apply similar insights to the cultural ethos of “Oriental” Jews as a whole, as compared with that of some Ashkenazi Jews. It would seem from the analysis of responsa, for example, that in medieval times Ashkenazi rabbis tended to be very strict, while Sephardi rabbis were more “lenient.” Some observers have seen an echo of this in the attitudes of extreme Orthodox Jews in Israel today; while young Sephardi students of the Talmud are pious enough, they are less likely (it is said) to participate in the violent actions of some Ashkenazim, such as throwing stones at Sabbath violators.
But if history provides an explanation of cultural differences between Sephardim and Ashkenazim, more important today is the power of harmonization. The pace of this leads one to reconsider the central issue raised at the beginning, namely, the effect of the new “Oriental” majority on the Israeli society of the future. That Jews of Asian/African origin (first and second generation) are a majority is certainly true, but according to at least one authoritative population study this percentage is due to fall, and on one projection may be as low as 46 percent by 1993. This would be due to a decrease in the Sephardi birthrate—which has already become evident—and the continuation of immigration from Europe and American countries.5 (The “Oriental” countries are now devoid of Jews.) Of equal moment, the separation between communities is bound to become less marked. Ten years ago intermarriage stood at 11 percent; today it is 23 percent.6
Yet if harmonization—through intermarriage, education, army service, and the opening-up of political power—has proceeded at a remarkable pace, it would still be wrong to expect too rapid a disappearance of the differences that arise through “ethnic origins.”7 These differences, indeed, sometimes have an unhappy, even an ugly, aspect. The ugly aspect lies in the bitter reaction of Sephardim, especially the young, to what they see as economic domination by the Ashkenazim. The bitterness was visible in recent riots in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv during which Sephardi youths scrawled swastikas on cars, and spelled out the hated word Ashkenazi in two parts: ASHKE—NAZI. In the view of a prominent Israeli educator, this bitterness is not only economic but reflects a real sense of spiritual deprivation for which Ashkenazim may be responsible:
Nearly every thinking Israeli of the older generation now admits that in the imposition of an “Israeli character” through the school system in the 50′s and 60′s, something very precious was lost, with the negation of tradition and the pouring of scorn on the religious and cultural values and customs of Sephardi communities.8
But if the uprooting from old traditions can take an ugly form, there are positive feelings deriving from “ethnic origins” as well. One is aware in Israel of an even greater concentration than hitherto on the cultural heritage of the Sephardim in song, dance, poetry, and painting. But this, though welcome, is peripheral to the central need. Within Israel, and outside, some transformation is called for in which the pride of the Sephardi heritage is given the weight it deserves in Jewish self-consciousness. Something of this kind has happened in the Ashkenazi world, not merely in scholarship but in popular art, from Fiddler on the Roof to the stories of I.B. Singer. The Sephardi expression will be different by definition, but equally important to the Jewish consciousness of our time.
1 Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts through the Ages (Schocken, 1956; paperback, 1964).
2 This is all documented in S.D. Goitein's trilogy: A Mediterranean Society: The Jewish Communities of the Arab World as Portrayed in the Documents of the Cairo Geniza (University of California Press, 1976-78), with additional volumes: Letters of Medieval Jewish Traders (Princeton, 1972) and Mediterranean People (in preparation). See also Norman A. Stillman, The Jews of Arab Lands: A History and Source Book (Jewish Publication Society, 1979).
3 Isidore Epstein, The Responsa of Rabbi Simeon b. Zemah Duran (Oxford University Press, 1930).
4 See Mark R. Cohen, Jewish Self-Government in Medieval Egypt (Princeton University Press, 1980).
5 Roberto Bachi, The Population of Israel (Jerusalem, Institute of Contemporary Jewry, 1974). The fall in fertility rate is striking. As defined in the study, it fell for Jews born in Asian/African countries from 6.09 in 1950-53 to 3.75 in 1972-75. For all Israel, the figure in 1972-75 was 3.17. (For Muslims in Israel, the figure was 8.2!)
6 These figures were given by President Yitzhak Navon (himself a Sephardi), in an interview in the Jewish Chronicle (London), December 10, 1982.
7 The accelerating trend toward harmonization is documented by S. Smooha in Israel: Pluralism and Conflict (University of California Press, 1978), though economic and social inequalities remain formidable.
8 Quoted in the Jewish Chronicle (London), January 21, 1983.