MKs: Stop treating all Ethiopian-Israelis like new immigrants

Naguise: "We have to make sure to stop the separation so that Israelis of Ethiopian descent will be integrated in Israeli society like all citizens."

By
June 9, 2015 18:58
4 minute read.
Ethiopian Israelis

Ethiopian Israelis take part in a protest in Tel Aviv on May 3 against police racism and brutality. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Continuing special government programs for Israelis of Ethiopian descent in effect segregates them from other Israelis, Knesset Immigration Absorption and Diaspora Committee chairman Abraham Naguise (Likud) charged Tuesday.

Naguise, the committee’s first chairman who is an immigrant from Ethiopia, said that in light of recent protests, it is essential for the Knesset to discuss the community’s issues and for ministries to report what they are doing to help integrate them into Israeli society.

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“The demands... can be summed up in two words: Equal rights. We have to make sure to stop the separation so that Israelis of Ethiopian descent will be integrated in Israeli society like all citizens. In the 30 years that I am in Israel, I do not remember an opportunity like this, when the prime minister takes personal responsibility for the topic,” Naguise said.

MK Dov Henin (Joint List) pointed out in the committee’s meeting that 40 percent of Ethiopian Israelis were born in Israel, saying the root of the problem is the government continuing to treat them, as a community, like new immigrants.

“Stop the separation and the labeling; they are citizens like everyone else,” MK Manuel Trajtenberg (Zionist Union) said.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) said that the protests created a change in Israelis’ awareness of the problems, and that must be used to bring a real change.

MK Sharon Gal (Yisrael Beytenu) tried to present the positive side of the story, saying: “You are our brothers and sisters, and despite all the problems, we cannot throw out the baby with the bathwater. Despite the problems, Israel is a tolerant country, and even my parents – like all new immigrants – suffered when they made aliya from Libya.”



Chief Rabbi of Ethiopian Jewry Yosef Hadana said education is the most important area in which the community’s young people need help.

Kais Avihu Azaria, chairman of the National Board of Ethiopian Jewish Leaders in Israel, said “there is a reason the young members of the community are frustrated and angry, and it is because of the doubt about their identity and their Judaism.”

Mahrata Baruch-Ron, deputy mayor of Tel Aviv and former participant on the reality TV show The Ambassador, said people are only dealing with long-term problems, but some solutions need to be given immediately.

“There is a lot of work to be done and I call on the prime minister to set clear goals and a schedule for them,” she added.Continuing special government programs for Israelis of Ethiopian descent in effect segregate them from other Israelis, Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee chairman Avraham Naguise (Likud) charged Tuesday.

Naguise, the committee's first chairman who is an immigrant from Ethiopia, said that in light of recent protests, it is essential for the Knesset to discuss the community's issues and for ministries to report what they are doing to help integrate them into Israeli society.

"The demands...can be summed up in two words: Equal rights. We have to make sure to stop the separation so that Israelis of Ethiopian descent will be integrated in Israeli society like all citizens. In the 30 years that I am in Israel, I do not remember an opportunity like this, when the prime minister takes personal responsibility for the topic," Naguise stated.

MK Dov Henin (Joint List) pointed out that 40% of Ethiopian-Israelis were born in Israel, saying the root of the problem is the government continuing to treat them, as a community, like new immigrants.

"Stop the separation and the labeling; they are citizens like everyone else," MK Manuel Trajtenberg (Zionist Union) said.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) said that the protests created a change in Israelis' awareness of the problems, and that must be used to bring a real change.

MK Sharon Gal (Yisrael Beytenu) tried to present the positive side of the story, saying: "You are our brothers and sisters, and despite all the problems, we cannot throw out the baby with the bathwater. Despite the problems, Israel is a tolerant country, and even my parents - like all new immigrants - suffered when they made aliya from Libya." Chief Rabbi of Ethiopian Jewry Yosef Hadana (sp?) said education is the most important area in which the community's young people need help.

Kais Avihu Azaria, chairman of the National Board of Ethiopian Jewish Leaders in Israel, said "there is a reason the young members of the community are frustrated and angry, and it is because of the doubt about their identity and their Judaism." Mahareta Baruch-Ron, Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv and former participant on the reality TV show "The Ambassador," said people are only dealing with long-term problems, but some solutions need to be given immediately.

"There is a lot of work to be done and I call on the prime minister to set clear goals and a schedule for them," she added.

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