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A Confiscated Memory

A Confiscated Memory: Wadi Salib and Haifa's Lost Heritage

Yfaat Weiss
Translated by Avner Greenberg
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    A Confiscated Memory
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-52626-5
    Subjects: History, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  5. Prologue: “The Neighbors Who Get Rich on Our Account”
    (pp. 1-8)

    ON THE SUMMER EVENING OF JULY 9, 1959, CRIME SQUAD SERGEANT Yisra’el Walk was on a routine patrol in the Haifa area, accompanied by the driver of the police van, Said Abu-Sa’ada, from the village of Usfia.¹ Their patrol began at Shemen Beach and on their way back, toward ten at night, they paid a routine call at Ya’akov and Shalom Shitrit’s coffee bar at 85 Shivat Zion Street, known as the Aviv Café. In the midst of an exchange of words with Shalom Shitrit regarding the running of the business and particularly on the matter of the brothers’ application...

  6. 1. War: Diachronic Neighbors
    (pp. 9-50)

    IN FORGING, AT THE END OF THE 1950S, A LINK BETWEEN WADI Nisnas, the Palestinian neighborhood of Haifa, and Wadi Salib, a former Muslim neighborhood and currently a residential area housing poor Jewish immigrants, Uri Avnery was alluding to the Israeli political milieu in general. Haifa served as a parable for him of the linkage and reciprocal ties between intra-Jewish ethnic tension and the Jewish-Palestinian conflict. When different normative systems exist side by side in a state, he warned, civil rights cannot be guaranteed. Israel, in which a section of its citizens—the Palestinians, to be precise—lives under military...

  7. 2. Commotion: “And I Wanted to Do Something Nice, Like They Have Up in Hadar”
    (pp. 51-96)

    ALL THAT DAVID BEN-HARUSH HAD WANTED TO DO WAS TO OPEN a modest café. He was thirty-five years old. During his eleven years in the country, after immigrating from Morocco by way of Algeria and the transit camp in Cyprus, he hadn’t managed to establish a footing for himself. The café would, he hoped, put an end to his ongoing economic hardship.¹ To this end he had sold his small dwelling, bought a one-room apartment for himself and his family, and invested the proceeds in a new café. “I wanted to set up a café and snack bar in our...

  8. 3. Evacuation: City Lights
    (pp. 97-154)

    THE MOROCCAN IMMIGRANTS SETTLED IN THE ABANDONED ARAB properties of Wadi Salib in two waves. The first reached the neighborhood directly from the immigrant camps toward the end of 1948. This was in part a spontaneous initiative by the immigrants themselves. Reacting to the severe hardships in the immigrant camps, they went in search of improvised housing solutions with the support of the authorities. Neighborhoods similar to Wadi Salib were settled at the time, such as the “large area” in Jaffa, the Sahneh in Lod, and the Salameh neighborhood near Tel Aviv.¹ The second wave arrived in a roundabout manner...

  9. 4. Khirbeh: Altneuland
    (pp. 155-176)

    IN THE AUTUMN OF 1895 THE BERLIN ZIONIST WILLY BAMBUS made his way from Zikhron Ya’akov to Haifa by horse-drawn coach. As he surveyed the spectacular vista of Haifa Bay, with Acre emerging in the background, it occurred to him that this exhilarating piece of nature was no less beautiful than the Bay of Naples. But it was just this topographic resemblance that brought into relief the tremendous difference. How could Haifa and Acre compete with Naples and Portici? The natural beauty, he felt, did not find its full expression, since it lacked “the enlivening element of human activity,” of...

  10. Epilogue: Iphrat Goshen and His Wife Miriam Move Into Said’s Home in Hallisa
    (pp. 177-184)

    IN EXILE IN BEIRUT, THE PALESTINIAN AUTHOR GHASSAN KANAFANI wrote a fantastic story about return. He sat his protagonists Said and Safiyya in a gray Fiat bearing white Jordanian license plates and sent them on their way from Ramallah, the city in which they resided, to Haifa, the city of their youth. This was the end of June 1967, and Said and Safiyya had been given the opportunity of visiting their city. The purpose of the visit is clear, and they refrain from discussing it. In the midst of the expulsion and the panic of the flight in April 1948,...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 185-224)
    (pp. 225-240)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 241-252)