Ethiopians protest racism in Kiryat Malachi

Thousands demonstrate against discriminatory renting practices in town; mayor says problem symptomatic of nationwide phenomenon.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
January 10, 2012 18:59
2 minute read.
Ethiopian protest Kiryat Malachi

Ethiopian protest Kiryat Malachi 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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Thousands demonstrated in Kiryat Malachi on Thursday in protest of local apartment owners refusing to sell or rent to Israelis of Ethiopian descent.

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The practice was revealed in a Channel 2 news expose last week, depicting a Kiryat Malachi neighborhood council whose residents signed a pledge vowing not to rent or sell houses to Ethiopians.


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In the Channel 2 segment, one resident of the Bar-Yehuda neighborhood in the poor development town can be heard saying “the only good Ethiopian is a dead Ethiopian.” Another resident said Ethiopians “have a stench like an atomic bomb.”

An additional resident of the 120-family neighborhood said that Ethiopians will bring down the real estate values, before adding that he wouldn’t rent to an Ethiopian even if he was the IDF chief of staff. The same resident said Ethiopians who move into the neighborhood will start holding elaborate African rituals in public spaces, including slaughtering cattle and setting up tents “like they do there [Africa]”.

Among those at the protest was Kiryat Malachi Mayor Moti Malcha, who told Army Radio that he "harshly condemned the discrimination against the Ethiopian community the moment I was informed of it."

Malcha stated that the problems revealed in Kiryat Malachi were a symptom of a larger problem nationwide.

"The Ethiopian community is separated and the State of Israel does almost nothing to care for them. It cannot be that I have to chase after contributions in order to take care of them," he stated.

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