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Sephardi Leader Deplores Bias Against Sephardi Jews in Israel

Nessim Goon, president of the World Sephardi Federation, called for an end to a “syndrome of pride and prejudice against Sephardi Jews” which is a “cause of concern in the House of Israel.” Goon made this statement Sunday night in an address to Yeshiva University’s annual Sephardi Studies dinner where he was presented with the university’s Distinguished Service Award by Dr. Norman Lamm, Yeshiva University president.

The Geneva-based Jewish leader stated that the results of the syndrome “can only weaken the future strength and unity of the State of Israel.” Continuing, he declared: “As much as we refuse to believe it, the unfortunate truth is that as Israel embarks on its first peace, Sephardi Jewry — who represent the majority in the Jewish State — are a distressed people: both in terms of opportunity and cultural identification.

“For centuries, as one Jewish people, we fought for equal rights and equal opportunity. Now that we have achieved the impossible — re-establishing the Jewish State –it is hard to believe that we should have to fight for the same principles within the Jewish State,” said Goon. “Whatever our origins, we are one Jewish People representing two cultures and traditions — not based on group distinctions, but rather the richness of our heritage.”

The dinner celebrated the 15th anniversary of the university’s Sephardic Studies program, which is directed by Dr. Solomom Goon and Rabbi Herbert Dobrinsky. Also honored were Salvo Arias and Morrie Yohai of New York.

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