Israelis of Ethiopian descent take part in a protest.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Ethiopian Jews are expected to protest in Tel Aviv on Wednesday in response to a severe incident that left a young Ethiopian man dead.
On January 18, police opened fire and killed 24-year-old Yehuda Biadga of Bat Yam,
who rushed at the officers holding a knife. His family said the young man was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and accused police of using excessive force.
Following the incident, members of the Ethiopian community said Biadga was treated differently because of his color.
in interviews soon after the event, Biadga’s brother-in-law, Hagos Ubo, asked, "How long will they keep treating our ethnicity like this?"
Police denied the accusations.
The protest is expected to take place at 3 p.m. Israel time. Participants will walk through the streets of Tel Aviv toward Rabin Square.
"We are cooperating with the police, the protest will be civilized and organized," Shahar Mula, one of the organizers said on Tuesday. "Its a shame that the police depict us as a terror organization. We are not terrorists."
Mula said the protesters filed a request for the police to arrive on the scene wearing cameras, and added that the protesters will also "document the scene," to ensure that no brutal events occur.
But he also stressed that the Biadga incident should worry Israeli society.
"We see acts of violence towards Ethiopian Jews on a daily basis, but Yehuda's case is the last straw," Mula said. "We just wish to show that we will not stand for it anymore."
It is not the first time that Israeli officials have been accused of racism against Ethiopians. Many activists have noted that one of the reasons the government has potentially not acted to bring the remaining Jews of Ethiopia to Israel is a combination of racism and finances.
“No office wants to allocate money for this, and there are political parties, such as ultra-Orthodox parties, that would lose votes in the next election if they helped facilitate this,” Activist A.Y. Katsof said on the subject of Ethiopian aliyah.
In 2016, the chief rabbi of Israel’s Ethiopian community, Yosef Hadane, was reportedly fired from his role over his participation in a campaign against the Chief Rabbinate’s alleged racial discrimination against Ethiopian Jews. Hadane had expressed strong opinions against the rabbinate over marriage registration woes of Ethiopian couples in some cities.
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