Heather Monro discusses the implications of Ashkenazi Hegemony in the Israeli Haredi society.
Discrimination against Sephardim has become a growing issue in the Haredi world in Israel, but one which has taken a backseat to the more pressing questions of gender inequality and the religious-secular divide. Heather Munro's research has revealed that new Haredi feminist movements are increasingly engaged with the intersectionality debates of mainstream equality movements, and Sephardi discrimination is often inextricably wound up with other community struggles. Ashkenazi women with whom she engages articulate an Orientalist-type perception of Sephardim, including a rhetoric of cultural superiority. Sephardi women describe the way in which they have experienced discrimination as overly sexualising; most discrimination has occurred around issues of access to Ashkenazi institutional services like schools, which are perceived by both Sephardim and Ashkenazim as higher quality. Women are beginning to engage with the question of Sephardi discrimination through new Haredi feminist movements, which are gaining support despite Ashkenazi rabbinical denouncements of women politicians. Women may, ultimately, be the drivers behind anti-discrimination movements within the Israeli Haredi world.