Mizrahion: The People’s Archive for Social Struggles in Israel
The Mizrahion is the product of a dream. It’s meant to inspire us, and to connect the past with the present in the hope of stimulating and encouraging thought and action in planning the future of the society in Israel.
We believe that the materials presented here in the Mizrahion reside in the public domain and belong to all the communities that created them, to generations past and those yet to come. Therefore, the Mizrahion project was not only created as an act of preserving physical materials and presenting them to the general public, but is our way of preserving the collective history and memory, as a springboard for action, for those who’ve fought for social justice, democracy and equality for all.
As an initiative of the Breaking Walls movement, the Mizrahion will serve as a home for the documentation and preservation of struggles, movements, groups, organizations, initiatives and activists involved in promoting human rights, equality, and freedom of expression, while connecting communities and fostering mutual responsibility. Through collaboration and providing a platform for organizations, movements and short-term actions, we’ll be able to collect documents created in the past as well as those that are being created now.
As time goes by, documents relating to historical struggles, our communities, and the activists who led them are becoming lost to us. Many materials are already gathering dust in cardboard storage boxes, in metal file cabinets that haven't been opened in years, or scattered in binders in the corners of home offices. As long as these materials remain inaccessible to the public, they can’t be reviewed and researched. We can’t hold public events to discuss them, or publish documents based on them or promote a civil society that rests upon the shoulders of those who came before to lay the groundwork.
The Mizrahion is not intended for nostalgia and is not merely an archive to document history. The various struggles, their successes and failures, will serve as an inspiration for how to act in the future, and especially, to inform how to conduct social struggles and bring about social change.
In our mind's eye we imagine a social archive operated by a supportive community that is also a center for research and thought, a place of culture, education and art, that promotes contemporary struggles based on the archival materials.
Our ambition is for the archive to offer an alternative to the state-sponsored archive. It bears repeating: This knowledge will enable us to learn from the successes of past struggles as well as from failures, while thinking about the future, allowing anyone who wants to lead a social struggle to learn how – and how not – to do it.
Breaking Walls is a grassroots movement founded in 2020 to promote public campaigns and engage in community activism. As a civic feminist movement, we believe in action that seeks to unite communities and work together with (not on behalf of) struggling groups and women living in poverty. You can find us in the struggle for housing and distributive justice, with women victims of violence, in the fight against police violence and maintaining freedom of protest, with the LGBT community and more – fighting and supporting anyone struggling to survive on an individual level, while also promoting policy change.
We believe in women’s leadership that grows from the ground up, in a movement led by diverse women, most of whom gained knowledge and experience from their personal struggles. When we grow stronger, as we gain power, we can support not only women, but everyone, and as others grow stronger, they too will pass it onwards.
Breaking Walls is our call to other communities to join and fight together, instead of submitting to the policy of divide and conquer.
Join us and together we will build a powerful feminist political force.
To the Breaking Walls website
Sapir Sluzker Amran
Founder of the Mizrahion and co-founder and general manager of the Breaking Walls movement. Attorney and human rights campaigner, and lecturer on the subjects of the freedom to protest and social change strategies. Her activities combine legal work, fieldwork, and grassroots feminist organizing, especially at the intersection of women, marginalized communities, and poverty. Amateur archivist.
Avishag Ben Shalom
Doctoral candidate in the Department of Jewish History at Ben Gurion University, and a Mizrahion leader. She has a BA and MA in Jewish thought, and is one of the founders of Chaya – the Mizrahi LGBT forum.
Mizrahion leader. Lives in motion between different cities and fields of knowledge. Has a PhD in computer science in the field of computational linguistics and has done graduate work in Hebrew literature at Ben Gurion University. Is director of research at the Center for Digital Humanities at the Hebrew University and is a partner in a laboratory in Haifa. Teaches, researches, and builds personal and non-institutional digital archives and reviews archives. Volunteer at the Maslan Center in Be'er Sheva and on the Kol Mila support chat.
An expert in information systems, with a diverse academic background. A feminist activist in various feminist organizations. Michal is the initiator and operator of A Site of Her Own – a feminist website portal, and also leads and participates in various projects to document and preserve feminist activity in Israel.
On the Mizrahion content team and a member of the Breaking Walls board of directors. Works in informal education and is involved in the Dror Israel movement. Instructor of empowering self-defense workshops. Social activist for issues of housing and evictions, Mizrahi activism, and provides guided tours on these topics.
Reut Ben Yaakov
Translator, editor and literature researcher. Currently a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Holds a doctorate from the Department of Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and specializes in modern and contemporary Hebrew poetry. Writer for the Mizrahion content team.
On the Mizrahion content team. Lives by the words of Audre Lorde: “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”
Writes and edits content for the Mizrahion and in general. A language editor for 10 years, and a beginning writer. Inspired by Ehud Manor, writing, joy, creation and love are her protest.
Has a master's degree Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the Hebrew University. She has volunteered in various documentation projects dealing with gender and LGBT in Israel and is one of the founders of an independent LGBT group in Holon. Works in the digital archives projects of the National Library. Cataloger on the Mizrahion digitization team.
Content and website manager for the Civil Rights Association and a veteran activist for LGBT rights and human rights. Holds a bachelor's degree in psychology with honors from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a master's degree in law with honors from Bar Ilan University and a master's degree in public health from Ben Gurion University. Cataloger on the Mizrahion digitization team.
Content editor and beginning user experience designer. At the time of this writing, I’m a devout reader of the philosopher Rosi Braidotti, a bachelor who returned to his hometown of Rishon LeZion, a DJ at night (who can also be booked during the day, of course) and a featherweight fighter against my addiction to cigarettes. I’m a writer and designer on the Mizrahion content team, and can be reached at email@example.com.
Merav Ben Izhak
On the Mizrahion content team. Works in the technology sector, and is a photographer and activist.