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Identity



About two months ago I went to a conference in Israel as part of a delegation of men and women active in education.

We arrived at the Hostages Square and I wanted to hang, on the ‘Tree of Wishes’, student wishes I had taken with me.

One of the organizers immediately approached me and said: "Efrat, hang your flag."

It took me a few seconds to realize that "your flag" referred to the Belgian flag.

I immediately had questions: is this flag really mine? How do I feel about it? Does being Belgian occupy a significant part of my identity? Does it replace my Israeli identity? Is it an additional one? A hyphenated identity?

I came to the conclusion that the Belgian identity is a hyphenated identity. It is an additional identity, not instead. But in certain situations, such as during wars, the Israeli identity has a greater place. Not always because I want to bring it to the front, sometimes, in threatening situations, I even choose to reduce it, but I can be defined by a certain people by one or other identity.

When I was in Israel, the Belgian identity blurred. I was so in the Israeli existence that there was no place for a hyphenated in identity.

How is it with you? Which identity has strengthened/weakened for you when you move from one country to another?


Dr. Efrat Tzadik

Expert in migration, integration, identity and identification

Certified coach for personal development and empowerment

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