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.