Language, religion og identity in todays Israel
Almog Behar, Ravid Kahalani, Orit Bashkin & Hanne Eggen Røislien
Mizrahim is a term used in Israel to refer to Jews coming from the East, i.e. the Arab countries. What has been the position of the mizrahim Jews in Israeli society and how are these experiences relevant to other contemporary issues, such as the situation of Palestinians in and outside Israel, and the relationship between Jews and Muslims in this region today? The poet Almog Behar and artist and musician Ravid Kahalani belong to a generation of Israeli artists that have started questioning the prevailing notions of Israeli identity. Behar is an award-winning Israeli poet, writer and activist who lives in Jerusalem and is particularly known for the poem “My Arabic is mute”. In addition to the novel Rachel and Ezekiel, he has published two poetry collections and a collection of short stories. As an activist and man of letters, Behar has focused on the mix of Jewish and Arabic culture in Israel, calling for greater attention to how each influences the other. An Israeli of Yemeni heritage, Kahalani is the leading figure of the band Yemen Blues and believes music to be the universal language in which all differences are suspended. And is this not a political stance in a world that is founded more on what sets us apart than what brings us together? Orit Bashkin’s work focuses on the history of Iraqi Jews and their journey to becoming Israeli citizens. Together they will meet Hanne Eggen Røislien for a conversation. A scholar of religious history, Røislien has written the book Israelerne: Kampen for å høre til (The Israelis: The Struggle to Belong) about the complex and conflict-ridden country of Israel and its citizens.