Yfaat Weiss tells the story of an Arab neighborhood in Haifa
that later acquired iconic status in Israeli memory. In the summer
of 1959, Jewish immigrants from Morocco rioted against local and
national Israeli authorities of European origin. The protests of
Wadi Salib generated for the first time a kind of political
awareness of an existing ethnic discrimination among Israeli Jews.
However, before that, Wadi Salib existed as an impoverished Arab
neighborhood. The war of 1948 displaced its residents, even though
the presence of the absentees and the Arab name still linger.
Weiss investigates the erasure of Wadi Salib's Arab heritage and
its emergence as an Israeli site of memory. At the core of her
quest lies the concept of property, as she merges the constraints
of former Arab ownership with requirements and restrictions
pertaining to urban development and the emergence of its entangled
memory. Establishing an association between Wadi Salib's Arab
refugees and subsequent Moroccan evacuees, Weiss allegorizes the
Israeli amnesia about both eventual stories-that of the former Arab
inhabitants and that of the riots of 1959, occurring at different
times but in one place. Describing each in detail, Weiss uncovers a
complex, multilayered, and hidden history. Through her sensitive
reading of events, she offers uncommon perspective on the personal
and political making of Israeli belonging.
Subjects: History, Anthropology
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