January 15: Absorbing Ethiopians

The reaction of Ethiopian-Israelis is fully justified.

January 14, 2012 21:20

Letters 521. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)

Absorbing Ethiopians
Sir, – The reaction of Ethiopian-Israelis is fully justified (“Ethiopian activists furious over Landver comments,” January 12).

Successive government polices have resulted in ghettos with high concentrations of Ethiopians, which separates them from the general population and drastically slows down the absorption process. There are long and arduous conversion processes and untold burdens on local authorities.

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Successive governments have completely failed to grasp that the absorption of Ethiopians is not at all similar to the many previous waves of immigration and requires a very heavy investment if we want the process to be successful.

Kiryat Ono

Sir, – The minister of absorption says the Ethiopian Jews who demonstrated in Kiryat Malachi should be grateful. This is deeply insulting for them to hear – the minister is conveying an attitude that they are not equal citizens.

Should social justice demonstrators also be grateful? Should all of us who feel we do not get a fair deal be grateful? The minister is entitled to her opinion, but it is hardly the opinion a minister should have.


Sir, – Ruth Eglash notes Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s claim that he has instructed his adviser on Ethiopian issues to work toward eradicating racism against Ethiopians.

It is an excellent idea, if a bit overdue. A great place to start would be in Netanyahu’s own office, which continues to support, presumably with the prime minister’s blessing, a reduction of almost 50 percent in the rate of aliya from Ethiopia.

Over 4,000 people have been approved for aliya by the Interior Ministry. Yet disgracefully low quotas mean that many of these Jews, who live under intolerable conditions, must wait three more years before joining their families in Israel.

If, as he claims, Netanyahu admires the Ethiopian Jewish community, he should be bringing its remaining members to Israel as soon as possible.

Lawrence, New York

The writer is a former president of the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry

Sir, – Further to your January 11 article “Following Martin Luther King, Ethiopians protest systemic racism,” I am writing as a non-Ethiopian who was present at the protest in Kiryat Malachi.

I did not hear lots of complaining or name calling, or see burning tires, things we see and hear at other demonstrations. The call was to be included and to be treated like any other citizen.

The chant, over and over, was am echad, lev echad (one people, one heart).

I didn’t sense hatred. I sensed disappointment and yearning. I commend the demonstrators and call on others like me who are not Ethiopian but believe in justice to support this cause.


Lies and revisionism
Sir, – Regarding “Beit Shemesh mayor faces possible lawsuit for libel” (January 12), Moshe Abutbol has done little to stop ultra- Orthodox violence against the national religious public. Not only that, he has been colluding with forces trying to make sure Beit Shemesh becomes a haredi city by allocating the upcoming Ramat Beit Shemesh Gimmel project to the haredi public, even though it was to have been divided into areas for haredim, the national-religious and the general public.

But the height of Abutbol’s chutzpah is accusing Rabbi Dov Lipman of “using the incident of the girl, Na’ama Margolese, who was spit on, to further their goals” and of having “poisoned the atmosphere in Beit Shemesh.”

As a local resident for over 13 years and having witnessed harassment by extremist haredim, I have to say that the boldfaced lies and attempts to revise the true history of what has been occurring here is shocking, particularly coming from someone who is purportedly religiously observant.

May God bless Dov Lipman and all who are trying to bring peace back to our wonderful town.

Beit Shemesh

Tackling pedophilia
Sir, – In “How much child abuse justifies ‘hysterical?’” (Comment & Features, January 12), Aaron Leibowitz complains that the social services in Jerusalem have the names of over 100 abused children, with the names of some of the abusers being known – yet the police say they lack sufficient admissible evidence to prosecute.

As I know from being a police officer in the US for over 20 years, knowing someone is guilty of a crime and proving it are two different things. That said, there are things that can be done to warn parents about known pedophiles.

First, establish a computer file containing the names, addresses, profiles and photos of convicted child abusers. Second, if the abuser is not a citizen he should be returned immediately to the country of his origin. Third, upon a person’s conviction of a sex crime, his parole must require that he register his address with the police within 10 days of moving, and stay away from schools, playgrounds and parks.

Fourth, there must be a police unit whose sole job is to deal with child pedophilia and pornography so that specialists, and not street officers, investigate these crimes.

Finally, police need to keep parents informed of the status of the investigation, which will negate hysteria and rumor-mongering.


Hear, Krishna!
Sir, – One can sympathize with S.M. Krishna in his attempt to pussy-foot around the obvious fact of Iran’s efforts to develop a nuclear bomb (“Indian FM: Tehran has right to civilian nuke power,” January 11).

As a nuclear power itself – developed illegally – India is in no position to preach to Iran.

However, to repeat the fiction about its right to develop a nuclear power plant is carrying politeness to the point of imbecility.

Iran, with huge untapped resources of natural gas, has as much use for nuclear power as a moose does for a hat rack.

The CEO of the largest operator of nuclear power plants in America recently stated unequivocally that at the present price of natural gas, there is no sound economic reason to build a new nuclear power plant, even though his company has all the necessary experience and technology.

To even pay lip service to the idea that Iran needs a nuclear power plant is ridiculous.

Ma’aleh Adumim

Sir, – The headline “Peace Now: 1,577 settlement tenders issued in 2011” (January 11), about the NGO listing a lot of settlements that had been authorized, made me very happy. But when I read the article I became very sad. In your opinion, are cities like Ma’aleh Adumim, Beitar and Ariel now settlements? While we’re on the subject, how do the Arabs get permits to build all over? I travel from Jerusalem (is that also a settlement?) to Mishor Adumim a lot and am horrified to see all the Arab construction. Have we given up our country to them?


Crime and punishment
Sir, – I just want to make sure I understand how our Knesset’s system of punishment works (“Water-throwing Israel Beiteinu MK suspended for a month,” January 11).

If a Knesset member goes on a ship that attacks Israeli soldiers and tries to kill them, she gets a two-week punishment. If a Knesset member goes to an enemy country and meets with its leaders to incite against Israel, no punishment is given.

But if a Knesset member pours some water on another Knesset member, she gets a four-week punishment?

Ma’aleh Adumim

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