Lea Habif (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Topic: “Burn it to the ground and build it from scratch”: Gender, Racism, and Trauma among Mizrachi women, consumers of welfare and mental health services
Thematic area: Political dimension in/of social work
In Israel, Mizrachi communities, i.e., Jewish Israelis of African or Asian descent, experienced severe types of institutional racism during the first years after the establishment of the state. One of the most traumatic institutional racism directly involved social workers’ intervention and was known as “the abduction of Yemenite children affair.”
Over the last 72 years, the Mizrachi communities have remained largely weakened and exposed to acts of racism. Mizrachi women from lower socio-economical strata are an extremely vulnerable group among the Mizrachi communities due to the intersectionality of oppression they experience in everyday life. They constitute Israel’s primary consumers of welfare and mental health services and, simultaneously, are the most ignored group when it comes to culturally sensitive and trauma-affirming types of intervention.
My research included semi-structured in-depth interviews with Mizrachi women of various age groups who are current or former consumers of welfare and mental health services.