Explore Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews’ longstanding connection with and enduring presence in the Land of Israel, and their contributions to the State of Israel.
Israel illo
Israel illo


Explore Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews’ longstanding connection with and enduring presence in the Land of Israel, and their contributions to the State of Israel.
Introduce students to the important connection and historical contributions of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews to the Land of Israel
Prominent Sephardi and Mizrahi leaders supported Jews’ return to the Land of Israel and their efforts to build the modern State of Israel

Rabbinic leaders:

Rabbi Yehuda Bibas (c.1789 – 1852), Gibraltar; Livorno, Italy; London, England; Corfu, Greece; Hebron, Jerusalem

Rabbi Yehuda Alkalai (1798 – 1878), Sarajevo, Bosnia; Belgrade, Serbia; London, England; Jerusalem, Israel

Rabbi Yaakov Moshe Hai Altarats (b. Unknown - d. Unknown), born in Sarajevo, Bosnia; lived in Jerusalem. Author of Zikhron Yerushalayim (1887) and Kehilat Ya’akov (1904)

Rabbi Yaakov Shaul Elyashar (1817 – 1906), Safed and Jerusalem, Israel. In 1893, Elyashar was installed as Rishon LeZion.

Rabbi Moshe Kalphon Hacohen (1874 – 1950), Djerba, Tunisia

Rabbi Ben-Sion Uziel (1880 – 1953), Jerusalem, Israel

Rabbi Yaakov Toledano (1880 – 1960), Tiberias and Tel Aviv, Israel; Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt

Literary and communal activists:

Nissim Behar (1848 – 1941), Jerusalem, Israel; Istanbul, Turkey; New York

Albert Mosseri (1867 – 1933), Cairo, Egypt; Paris, France; Jerusalem, Israel

Cohen Linaru (active c. 1928), Bucharest, Romania

Nissim Jacob Malul (1892 – 1959), Safed, Israel; Cairo, Egypt

Mazal “Mathilda” Mosseri (née Meni) (1894 – 1981), Hebron and Jerusalem, Israel; Cairo, Egypt

Helene Cazes Ben-Atar (1898 – 1979), Tangiers and Casablanca Morocco; Turin, Italy; Seville, Spain; Paris, France

Yehiel Habshush (1908 – 2002), Sana’a, Yemen; Tel Aviv, Israel

Learn about the women’s committees of the first and second Sephardi Zionist Centers in Argentina 1925-1932. (JWA)

Political and military leaders:

Joseph Marko Barukh (1872 – 1889), Turkey, Austria, Bulgaria, Egypt, Algeria

Jacques Mosseri (1884 – 1934), Cairo, Egypt. A delegate of Egyptian Jewry to the 11th Zionist Congress (1913), he founded the Zionist Organization in Egypt in 1917.

Avraham Shemuel Recanati (1888 – 1980), Salonica, Greece; Tel Aviv, Israel

Saadia Kobashi (1902 – 1990). A leader of the Yemenite Jewish community in Israel and one of the signatories of Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

Shulamit "Shula" Kishik-Cohen (1917 – 2017), Argentina; Jerusalem, Israel; Beirut, Lebanon

Eliyahu Bet-Zuri (1922 – 1945), Tel Aviv, Israel; executed in Cairo, Egypt

Gamliel “Jamil” Cohen (1922 – 2002), Damascus, Syria; Beirut, Lebanon; Paris, France; Austria; Israel

Eliyahu Hakim (1925 – 1945), Beirut, Lebanon; Haifa, Israel; executed in Cairo, Egypt

Eliyahu Sasson (1902 – 1978), Damascus, Syria; Beirut, Lebanon; Paris, France, Tel Aviv, Israel

Celebrate the contributions and impact of Sephardi and Mizrahi migration to Israel

According to historian Daniel Elazar, “Before 1948, Sephardim accounted for about one-eighth of the world Jewish population; they provided about one-sixth of the immigrants to Palestine.”

Include immigration stories of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews who moved to the Land of Israel before the founding of the State:

  • Bukharian Aliyah - Bukharian Jews began migrating to Israel in 1868, with the community expanding to around 2,500 individuals by 1936, predominantly settling in Jerusalem.
  • Yemenite Aliyah - Between 1881 and 1914, about 10% of Yemen's Jewish population emigrated to Israel. In 1911, approximately 1,500 Jews from Yemen made aliyah to Israel. Between 1948 to 1950, approximately 48,000 Yemenite Jews were airlifted to Israel during Operation Magic Carpet.
  • Kurdish Aliyah - Beginning in 1895, Kurdish Jews began to settle in Jerusalem.
  • Iraqi Aliyah - Between 1951 to 1952, approximately 130,000 Iraqi Jews were airlifted to Israel during Operation Ezra and Nehemiah.
  • North African Aliyah - Between 1955 and 1957, approximately 62% of Israel’s immigrants came from North African countries.

For further information about Sephardi and Mizrahi contributions to the building of Israel see Jerusalem and Its Environs: Quarters, Neighborhoods, Villages, 1800-1948


Learn about waves of Sephardi and Mizrahi immigration to Israel in the years following the State’s founding, and their impact on the demographics of Israel today:


Distinguished Sephardim and Mizrahim have contributed to the establishment and development of the Israeli government:

Yitzhaz Navon (1921 – 2015), the fifth president of Israel, deputy prime minister and minister of education and culture, chairman of the National Authority for Ladino

Rahel Tzabari (1909 – 1995), teacher, member of the Haganah, and Knesset member from 1952 – 1969

Mordechai “Murad” Ben-Porat (1923 – 2022) was a member of the Haganah and later served as a representative in the Israeli Knesset, with affiliations spanning Rafi, Labor, Telem, and various other parties

Geulah Cohen (1925 – 2019), Knesset member from 1974 – 1992

Moshe Nessim (b. 1935), served as Israel’s Minister of Justice and Minister of Finance

David Levy (1937 –2024), was born in Rabat, Morocco and served as Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Immigrant Absorption, and Minister of Housing and Construction

Yifat Shasha-Biton (b. 1973), Israeli politician, served as Minister of Education and Minister of Construction & Housing

Gila Gamliel (b. 1974), Israeli politician, served as Minister of Intelligence, Minister for Social Equality and Minister of Environmental Protection