Tag Archives: Ethiopian Jews

Ethiopian Jews Await Passage To Promised Land

Over 100,000 Ethiopian Jews have been flown to the “Promised Land” over the past twenty years, but at least 15,000 remain stuck and unable to join relatives who left Ethiopia during this time period. Recently, thousands of Ethiopian Jews gathered around a phone speaker to hear a sermon from Haifa which assured them of being able to come to Israel in the coming years. Rabbi Menachem Waldman, speaking in Hebrew, said, “you are all sons and daughters of Israel. God will give you what you deserve. We haven’t stopped our long struggle to bring all of you home.” However, thousands remain and surprised they are not able to join family members who are in Israel.

Unfortunately, many Ethiopian Jews encounter racial prejudice when they arrive in the “Promised Land.” There is discrimination in their attempts to get jobs and their children are often segregated into all black classes in schools. Obviously, older Ethiopians have greater difficulty adjusting to life in a post industrial society, but most do not wish to remain in Ethiopia.

Prime Minister OLmert Blasts Racism Against Ethiopian Jews

A week after reports of the segregation of four Ethiopian girls in a Petah Tikva school caused an outrage, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he intended to pursue an extensive plan to deal with the growing racism in Israel against dark skinned people. “There is a problem and there is trouble. The feeling of injustice for the Ethiopian Jew is not detached from reality and it is our responsibility to change it.” Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also noted that discrimination ‘forces Ethiopians to be concentrated into their own neighborhoods, without integration, and this situation harms the absorption process in general.”

If there is on nation in the world which must ensure the disappearance of prejudice and segregation, it is Israel. Jews have been denied equal rights and forced to live in segregated housing in most nations so it is imperative that such actions not be tolerated in Israel. My mother went to school in Poland at the beginning of the 20th century at a time when Jewish children sat in segregated areas of the classroom. It is shocking that any child in the year 2007 would be segregated in a Jewish school. Prime Minister Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni deserve praise for their immediate actions to deal with this horrible situation. Hopefully, their concern will also spread to protecting the right of Darfur refugees to remain in Israel and avoid being deported.