Members of the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel mark the holiday of Sigd in Jerusalem November 20, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
An interministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Monday to discuss recommendations to advance the integration of Ethiopian Jewry. The meeting follows Netanyahu’s request for a hearing on measures by the Israel Police to improve its trust by the Ethiopian community.
Controversy arose after the police rejected more than a dozen recommendations on August 1 regarding how to eradicate racism against Ethiopian Israelis. The police argued that they had already implemented these recommendations on their own accord.
The 170-page report, composed by an interministerial task force headed by Justice Ministry director-general Ami Palmor, acknowledges the racism and discrimination faced by Ethiopian Israelis and presents 53 recommendations for government ministries to implement.
At Monday’s meeting the committee agreed to adopt nine of 12 recommendations regarding the police and separately to discuss three other recommendations in coordination with the Prime Minister’s Office, the Attorney- General’s Office, the Finance Ministry, and the Ministry of Public Security.
The three recommendations deal with Taser usage, recording the interrogations of minors, and disciplinary measures against police officers who act in a discriminatory or racist manner.
The police said in a statement that they accepted all the recommendations of the committee.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan stated that he “adopted the report of the Ministry of Justice,” however he contended, “a large part of the recommendations have already been implemented in practice by the police.”
“The relationship between the police and the public of Ethiopian descent regarding law enforcement is an issue of importance demanding broad and extensive discussion,” Netanyahu stated.
He added that while the committee has contributed to progress on the issue of racism against Ethiopians, progress will now be “tested on results and not on processes.”