Driver: 'No black Ethiopians on my bus'

Driver is sued over racist comments.

By
July 14, 2010 18:22
1 minute read.
egged bus

egged bus 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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An Egged bus driver is being sued for NIS 200,000 after allegedly slandering, insulting, and verbally and physically assaulting an Ethiopian passenger, according to a statement released by Tebeka, an advocacy organization for Ethiopian Israelis.

The Ethiopian college student waited at a bus stop in Rishon Leziyyon, and tried to board the bus, but the driver closed the door in her face, refusing to let her on. She managed to get on the bus anyway, and the driver yelled at her, saying "I don't let black Ethiopians on my bus," and "these blacks - who let you into Israel?"

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The driver added: "All of these kushim [a derogatory term for Africans] should be sent back to Ethiopia. You are a stupid nation, and you damage our land."

The passenger asked the driver not to speak to her, and in response, the driver grabbed her skirt, not allowing her to proceed onto the bus.

At a hearing conducted by Egged, the driver did not express regret and did not apologize. He said he stands by his opinios about Ethiopians. Egged fined the driver with one and a half months' salary. The Ministry of Transportation also pressed charges against the driver and Egged.

Tomer Reif and Hila Ben Harosh, the lawyers representing the student, are part of a Project "My Brother's Keeper," in which lawyers represent Ethiopians that turn to Tebeka pro bono.

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