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‘Inappropriate’ Voices from the Past: Contextualizing Narratives from the First Group Tour of Olim from Northern Morocco to Their Former Hometowns

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This study is based on the analysis of some rare audio recordings from the first organized group tour of olim (Jewish immigrants in Israel) from northern Morocco, to their former hometowns in Morocco. The tour was organized in 1987 by mabat, the principal émigré association of northern Moroccans in Israel during the 1980s. I compare this ‘free-style’-oral audio source with related printed-edited narratives, written by mabat before and after the tour, showing an evolving tension between two forms of narration: the expected ethnic-oriented narration among individuals travelling together as mabat members; and other ‘extra-ethnic’ narratives, encompassing contrasting spontaneous recollections from their childhood in Morocco. The conclusions reveal the often organized nature of vocally expressed ethnic voices; and the dynamic social environments that such voices represent, both before and after aliyah (immigration). The study offers a methodological and theoretical contribution to scholarship on ethnicity formation in Israel.


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