'Tell My Sister to Come and Get Me Out of Here': A Reading of Ableism and Orientalism in Israel's Immigration Policy (The First Decade)

Sagit Mor


In this article, I suggest a new reading of Israeli immigration policy as it existed during its first decade, by highlighting the fundamental role that disability played in its formation. Despite the popular image of Israel as a state of refuge for all Jews, its history reveals that immigration of Jews to Israel was regulated through screening policies and rules. Economic and practical considerations were mixed with ideological biases in favor of productive immigrants that fit the goals of Zionism, and against the sick, the old, and the disabled who were assumed to be inherently unproductive and dependent. Disability was not only a reason to exclude some groups from the Zionist project, but also a justification for screening others — a metaphor through which other social groups were rendered useless and inferior. In Israel, it was used to restrict Mizrahi immigrants who arrived from Arab and Muslim countries, in particular, immigrants from Morocco. Through the case of Israeli immigration policy, the article highlights a hidden part of Israel's history and also explores the ways in which social groups are demeaned and ostracized through images of disability, and how these images have operated as badges of inferiority.

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v27i4.43

Copyright (c) 2007 Sagit Mor

Volume 1 through Volume 20, no. 3 of Disability Studies Quarterly is archived on the Knowledge Bank site; Volume 20, no. 4 through the present can be found on this site under Archives.

Beginning with Volume 36, Issue No. 4 (2016), Disability Studies Quarterly is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license unless otherwise indicated. 

Disability Studies Quarterly is published by The Ohio State University Libraries in partnership with the Society for Disability Studies.

If you encounter problems with the site or have comments to offer, including any access difficulty due to incompatibility with adaptive technology, please contact libkbhelp@lists.osu.edu.

ISSN: 2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)