Student groups showed solidarity with the struggle of the Ethiopian-Israeli community throughout the country on Wednesday, with preparations to continue Thursday. A demonstration on the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem drew approximately 300 students, with activists handing out black ribbons and informative flyers about racism in Israel.
Shoshana Fente, an Ethiopian-Israeli student activist, spoke at the demonstration. She spoke about the police force, "a body that, for a long time already, has not represented security and safety for us, rather the opposite." She stated that the incident of a police officer assaulting the Ethiopian-Israeli soldier that had been caught on tape last week was not the first incident of its kind and the problem goes beyond physical violence and includes verbal violence and humiliation at the hands of the police.
Fente further blamed the police force as an institution for choosing not to deal with the many incidents of violence and racism against the Ethiopian-Israeli community.
Fente went on to say that she was speaking at the event to two distinct groups - the Israeli-Ethiopian community and the Israeli-non-Ethiopian community. "Yes, two audiences," she said. "We were not the ones who chose to create them both, rather society forced upon us this split."
"Society has not allowed us to be who we want to be, you forced upon us with your prejudices who we are and who we will be, you chose to label us as 'the pitiful Ethiopian', 'the nice Ethiopian', or 'the success story,'" Fente said.