Israeli Ethiopians protest racism

2012-01-18 23:53

Jerusalem - About 1 500 Israelis, mainly of Ethiopian origin, staged a protest against racism and discrimination outside the parliament in Jerusalem on Wednesday, an AFP correspondent said.

The predominantly young protesters, bearing banners with slogans reading "An end to racism" and "A new generation demands change," were galvanised into action after reports last week that some residents in the town of Kiryat Malachi were refusing to rent or sell flats to Ethiopian Jews.

Some of the Ethiopian Israeli demonstrators daubed white paint on their faces, while other Israelis painted their faces black.

Several MPs were among the protesters, including Shlomo Molla of the opposition Kadima party, who is himself of Ethiopian origin.

"Ethiopians are the first victims of racism, but the problem afflicts the entire nation," he told AFP.

Mulat Araru, a 26-year-old student from the southern port city of Ashdod, arrived at the rally after a three-day march from Kiryat Malachi.

"A small group can make big achievements," he told AFP. "Our struggle is just. Civilian society in Israel is changing."

The activists were calling for legislation against racism, Araru explained.

"We want to change Israeli society from the inside," he said.

After the protest, the demonstrators marched to the home of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently in Holland.

More than 120 000 Jews of Ethiopian origin live in Israel.

For centuries, Jews in Ethiopia were largely cut off from other Jewish communities, and Israel's religious authorities only belatedly recognised them as members of the faith.

The move sparked two waves of immigration to Israel, in 1984 and 1991, but Ethiopian immigrants have struggled to integrate into Israeli society, despite massive government aid.

  • Jaba - 2012-01-19 00:15

    Note the differences: In Israel they are able to demostrate freely for what they want In an Arab country, they would be shot down in the streets for doing it.

      johncarlos.biza - 2012-01-19 00:41

      Israel is morally superior to Arab nations. Western people are so harsh on them regarding Palestinians because they expect better from them, and they(me included) expect better from them because they know Jews are better than that. In other words, the Arab nations are viewed as a lost cause.

      Dirk - 2012-01-19 06:55

      Perhaps they have forgotten where they came from and should be given the option to return. I guess however, they will stay in Ethiopia for no longer than 3 months and when they go back to Israel, they will do so with a greater appreciation for what they have.

      Graziella - 2012-01-19 08:47

      @Biza Morality can't be that flexible! Stop trying to excuse it - it's another example of the amorality of that military outpost.

  • johncarlos.biza - 2012-01-19 00:28

    I hope Ashkenazim leaders condemn the racism, and also Beta Israel do their bit to fit into Israel culture.

      Graziella - 2012-01-19 09:45

      For 1,500 years, Jews and Muslims lived side by side in relative peace...without any need for human rights organizations. Together they were the shining light that pulled Europe out of its Dark Ages. It wasn't until the element of Racist European culture was injected that we see these serious problems. The British Colonial Mandate and UN interference screwed everything up. The West has encouraged European-descent Jews to embrace White Supremacy, thinking themselves more a part of the West then of the East. If today's Jews could get over their White Supremacy, that land of Israel-Palestine could be 10 times more prosperous as a single nation.

  • Dayaan - 2012-01-19 00:37

    Finally the true colors are being shown: Racism is rife in Israel not just racism against Jews of a darker complexion but also racism against non-Jews. Zionists portray themselves as the only democracy in the Mid-East but the underbelly is full of hypocrisy.

  • Graziella - 2012-01-19 07:01

    A generation raised in hate, self pity, full of arrogance and racism, why any one should migrate and raise their family in Israel, just to make their children murderers and racist. Hate eventually kills the haters from inside. It's not racism, it's halacha -- Jewish law!

      Graziella - 2012-01-19 09:26

      Do I have to preface every criticism of Israel with a criticism of Hamas. That is the rhetoric of Stalinism!

      Dayaan - 2012-01-19 10:35

      @Jaba Have a look at this link Defend Israel's Ethiopians In recent days Israeli media has been railing against the racism directed at Ethiopian Jews as if it were news and not an ongoing phenomenon. But this problem has persisted for a long time: More than a few schools have refused to admit Ethiopian students solely because of their country of origin and the color of their skin. It is shocking and frightening to think that in our Israel we are discriminated against specifically by fellow Jews, our brothers who experienced ethnic persecution first-hand while living in the Diaspora. We, Ethiopian Jews, have done everything to please veteran Israeli society. We have changed our identities and our given birth names, we have stopped speaking our mother tongue, Amharic, and have forced our parents to speak to us in Hebrew – because those who do not speak Hebrew are not Israeli.

      Dirk - 2012-01-19 10:51

      Dayaan- You have stuck your head into a bees nest. Perhaps not such a bad thing in your case. Any idea whu the Sudan has split. The Africans were being discriminated against and murdered in their millions BY ARAB MUSLIMS

      Dayaan - 2012-01-19 18:28

      @Dirk I HAVE AND WILL ALWAYS CONDEMN EXTREMISM IRRESPECTIVE OF WHO THE PERPETRATOR IS.Unlike yourself that only see discrimination on the part of non-Jews i despise discrimination by anyone that is perpetrating it. Perhaps you need to put your head in a bees nest this article is describing the discrimination that is being experienced by Jews of Ethiopian descent being perpetrated by Jews of European descent.

  • Fred - 2012-01-19 12:41

    Graziella says for 1500 years Jews and muslims lived side by side in peace. Lets start with the founder of Islam, Mohamad, who broke a treaty at Medina and murdered and enslaved Jews in what is to day Saudia Arabia. Without looking at every incident of which their were many, lets look at the last Jews of Gaza who were either murdered or forced to flee Gaza in 1922. Or perhaps instead of focussing on 2 hundred thousand Jews who moved from Europe to Israel post WWII, lets look at the nearly one million Jews who fled from persecution from Islamic arab lands post WWII and who also made their homes in Israel.

      Ask - 2012-01-20 16:19

      Perhaps you should consider another side to this plot.. Fred you obviously have no idea - of the real story; is this what they taught you at King David... and NO I'm not going to enlighten you with the truth... do some research and you will find that 800 were killed because of there treachery...

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