[ View the story "Black and Jewish in Israel" on Storify] Black and Jewish in Israel Netanyahu says racism 'won't be tolerated', but what does that mean?
The Stream· Thu, May 07 2015 17:51:31
Israel airlifted thousands of Jewish Ethiopians to the country in the 1980s and 1990s to rescue them from famine and civil war. But in the decades since, Ethiopian Israelis say they have faced persistent discrimination, with many accusing Israeli police of racism and harassment.
The community erupted in
surfaced showing Ethiopian Israeli soldier Damas Fekade being beaten by police after he didn't immediately leave an area they were clearing. Thousands of protesters
roads in the heart of Tel Aviv, as well as in Jerusalem.
#NOW in #TelAviv: Police uses excessive force on #BlackLivesMatter protest of Ethiopian Israelis
Police arrested dozens and fired water cannons and stun grenades to break up the protests. Clashes between police and demonstrators caused multiple injuries on both sides.
Israeli police spray skunk chemical on Ethiopian Jews. They've done this to no other group of Jews.
Many online compared the events in Tel Aviv to ongoing protests against police brutality in the US city of Baltimore.
One of the police officers involved in the soldier's beating was
, and the other suspended. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Fekade and Ethiopian Israeli leaders on Monday. He said he stood united with them.
"We must stand together as one against the phenomenon of racism, to denounce it and eliminate it," the prime minister announced.
אמרתי היום לחייל דמאס פיקדה: "הזדעזעתי מהתמונות. אנחנו לא יכולים לקבל את זה ונשנה את הדברים".
The video of Fekade's assault struck a chord with Ethiopian Jewish people, who have high enrollment rates in the army but
financial, linguistic, and bureaucratic difficulties once conscripted.
Ethiopian Jews serve in IDF to gain acceptance in Israeli society. Protests are over beating of uniformed solider, failure of that tradeoffRebecca Pierce
The frustration has been building for years. In 2012, Ethiopian Israelis
after landlords in the town of Kiryat Malachi reportedly refused to sell or rent to Ethiopian tenants. In 2013, an Ethiopian Israeli member of the Knesset accused Israel's Red Cross of
to let her donate blood. Earlier that year, the government ordered doctors to stop injecting women with contraceptive drugs following
that Ethiopian women were given Depo-Provera without their informed consent.
So the Israeli govt injected thousands of Ethiopian women immigrants with Depo-Provera, a contraceptive, against their will?rondaracha
Still, some insist that racism is not a problem in Israel. People cite Ethiopian native Yityish Aynaw, who was
Miss Israel in 2013.
#SJP WallofLies claims "Anti Blackness" in Israel. Miss Israel 2013 and 125,500 Ethiopian Jews be like "Haha,what?"
Members of The Stream community weighed in on the the discrimination Ethiopian Israelis say they face:
@AJStream Israel was built on the principle that no group must be punished for their qualities, prowess, features or abilities. They forgotOrunmila
@AJStream Yes I do.We r at the bottom in many places, trying to climb higher, treated poorly & broke our backs to build "civilization"Chantal Tshimanga
@OmarBaddar @AJStream #racism and otherness is the base on which #israel is built on. It's not a democracy.Lamya et al.,
They also debated how likely Netanyahu would be to actively combat racism:
@omarbaddar @ajstream Does the electorate want him to?#BH
@omarbaddar @ajstream No.As long as Netanyahu's policies discriminate against palestinians,one can never trust his 'Combat racism' claims.Ander
@OmarBaddar @AJStream no. Likud profits from the proliferation of racism. It makes their militant policies easier to stomach for IsraelisΜΛЖ