MOLAT ARARO 311.
(photo credit: Benny Voodoo)
Ethiopian-born Israeli Molat Araro admits it’s a media stunt.
Sunday morning, he has braved the wintry weather walking from Kiryat Malachi
towards the country’s capital in order to raise awareness to ongoing racism and
blatant discrimination against his community.
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“It’s the only way,” stated
the 26-year-old Wingate student, who on Tuesday began the ascent to Jerusalem
and is expected to arrive Wednesday afternoon in time for a mass anti-racism
demonstration opposite the Knesset.
“Today, in the age of the media the
only way to draw attention to something is by doing it differently,” he said. “I
knew that the media would be interested in a story of me walking and I was
determined to get that attention.”
Araro’s cross-country march was in
direct response to a Channel 2 report two weeks ago that revealed how 120
families from four residential buildings in Kiryat Malachi have allegedly signed
a collective agreement
not to sell or rent their apartments’ to families of
Ethiopian descent. Those interviewed for the story referred to the Ethiopian
immigrants, who make up a sizable portion of the city’s residents, as “jukim” or
Over the past few months, several other key incidents of
extreme racism against the 110,000 community have also been exposed and thanks
to social media tools such as Facebook, the younger generation of Ethiopians –
including Araro – has vowed not to remain complacent.
“We are the younger
generation and we have to tackle this problem head on,” Araro told The Jerusalem
, admitting although he has never directly experienced discrimination “it
does not matter.”
“I am part of this community and I very am proud of
it,” he said. “I know that it is only a matter of time and it will eventually
happen to me too unless we speak out against it.”
Araro, who arrived in
Israel in 1991 as part of Operation Solomon said “It is time that all of Israeli
society speaks out against this phenomenon, it is time for us to move
forward. We have no other choice, it is a matter of social
Araro, who was accompanied on his trek by Meretz MKs Nitzan
Horowitz and Ilan Gilon, will, after a visit to the Western Wall plaza, make his
way to meet up with the thousands expected to demonstrate outside the Knesset
Last week, activists from the community spoke at an
emergency session of the Knesset’s Aliya, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs
Committee about the need for stronger legislation to combat racism in society.
They called for better enforcement of existing anti-racism laws and stiffer
punishments for those expounding discriminatory statements or acts.