Endurance and Unity: Upholding Our Heritage in the Face of Continuing Threats

Dear Friends and Members of the Jimena Community,

As Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews, we are all too familiar with attempts to erase our existence– from the Inquisition, to dhimmitude (the second-class status Jews held under Islamic rule for hundreds of years), to the mass expulsions of our communities in the mid-20th century– our history has, unfortunately, been colored by antisemitic threats and violence as an ethnic minority of the Middle East and North Africa. 

These efforts to erase our existence continue as we bore witness to the first direct attack by a nation-state on the Jewish homeland in over 30 years. As we watched the Islamic Republic launch hundreds of rockets and drones in an unprecedented attack, we understand these events are not isolated, but a continuation of the threat to Jewish life in the Middle East. 

Israel symbolizes not only the preservation of our rich and cherished history but also the triumph of reclaiming indigenous land. It stands as a beacon of strength and hope for all indigenous peoples of the MENA region who have faced subjugation and oppression under imperialism. 

We extend our hand in solidarity with the people of Iran, who know all too well the terror imposed by the Islamic Republic regime occupying their land. We understand that the regime’s actions do not reflect their own aspirations for freedom, liberty, and peace. This conflict is with the Islamic Republic, not the Iranian people, and we look forward to the day when they, along with us and the entire Middle East, are liberated from the regime’s despotism and chaos.

Soon, Jews around the world will celebrate Passover, a story of resistance and return. From persecution and slavery under a tyrannical ruler to liberation and the beginning of our return to Eretz Israel, it is a story foundational to the Jewish experience. In the face of threats by tyrannical rulers today, we stand steadfast in our identity as Jews, as Jews whose diasporic experience heralds from the Middle East and North Africa, and as Jews who support the existence of Jewish life in our ancestral homeland. Just as before, we will triumph over those who wish to destroy us, and we will continue to advocate for peaceful coexistence for all peoples in the region, so we may live our lives free from persecution, antisemitism, and hate. 

The People of Israel Live, today, tomorrow, and forever. Am Israel Chai.

-The JIMENA team.