Ethiopian - Israeli protest against racism, police brutality in Tel Aviv..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A help-wanted ad published by the LM manpower company, which blatantly tells Israelis of Ethiopian decent to not apply, has caused widespread outrage among Israel’s Ethiopian community, the Justice Ministry, and in the Knesset.
The ad was seeking workers for Expose, a producer of high-end swimwear, according to a report in Walla. The add states that Expose “does not want Ethiopians.”
Expose released a statement saying, “this ad was published without our knowledge, we condemn vehemently the ad content, and it is clearly contrary to the values of our company. We apologize if anyone was hurt from the ad.”
Hana Elazar Legesse, spokeswoman for the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews, told The Jerusalem Post
that the racist help-wanted ad is a larger reflection of the problems facing the Ethiopian community.
“There is racism today and [there was] before today, in the government and in Israeli companies,” she stated. “We hope that this is the beginning of awareness among Israeli companies toward racism.”
There was widespread condemnation of the ad throughout Israeli government.
Justice Ministry director-general Ami Palmor, who heads an inter-minsterial task force on racism in Israeli society, stated, “If these are indeed the facts, it is an apparent case of blatant discrimination and racism, which prevents people from employment simply because of their skin color. This is not the first case, and certainly not the only case.”
Zionist Union MK Omer Bar-Lev reacted strongly to the ad stating, “It is unacceptable that Ethiopians will be the punching bag for vile racists,” and he called for new anti-racism legislation. “If there is no legislation that can prevent this racism, this is a badge of shame for Israel, and it is our duty to bring such legislation,” he said.
The racist ad appears as the Israeli government is taking steps to combat racism. A ministerial committee, chaired by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and charged with advancing the integration of Ethiopian-Israelis into Israeli society, accepted a 170-page report on racism toward Ethiopians in late July. The report detailed 53 recommendations for government ministries to implement to combat racism.
Controversy arose on August 1 after the police rejected more than a dozen recommendations of the report. The police argued that they had already implemented these recommendations on their own accord.
On August 8, the ministerial 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 recording the interrogations of minors, taser usage, and disciplinary measures against police officers that act in a discriminatory or racist manner.
According to Legesse, reluctance by the police to accept these three recommendations will pose challenges to relations with the Ethiopian community. “The police are not ready to change, if they are not ready to adopt these three policies,” she stated.
In July, Netanyahu remarked that racism toward the Ethiopian community was unacceptable. “I am not prepared to tolerate racism in our state,” he said. “I am not prepared for people to be tripped up by the color of their skin… This befits neither our country, our citizens, nor our people.”
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