Zahava Samucha Barkani


I was born in Jaffa, to parents who emigrated from Iraq. My father was a factory worker in Tnuva and my mother raised her 6 children. Jaffa is imprinted in me. The sights, the smells, the sea, the people, the busy women, the alleys, the blocks that were built and were populated by the new immigrants to Israel in the 1950s, who lived sparingly and modestly.

I learned at Hadasim Boarding School, which for me was a “kingdom of children”. There, in the green place far away from my family, I formed my identity as an independent person. There, I learned to keep quiet about my life story alongside silencing many other things, I developed awareness towards color, gender and my status as a Middle-Eastern Jew.After the army, I married my partner Ari and adopted the Kibbutz way of life. Being close to nature and working with children was very meaningful for me but life in the Kibbutz bubble did not allow me to feel part of Israeli society. At the age of forty, we left the kibbutz with our three children.

Since then, I have been working in education, or a better way to put it would be in “Other education”. An education that has aspects of feelings, that develops an otherness and looks at humanity from a place of compassion and tolerance.
Today I teach education and sociology at Seminar Hakibbutzim College. Training young teachers for me is a platform for activism towards social change. I am a peace activist and I take part in it through a number of social organizations that expose the breach of human rights of minorities in Israel.