Israel's Justice Ministry released a study examining the racist incidents which occurred in Israel in 2022 last week in honor of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21, 2023,
The data represented incidents that were reported to the Justice Ministry's Unit for Coordinating the Fight Against Racism in 2022.
According to the report, the complaints were primarily about discrimination in the provision of public services (19% of all complaints), employment (12%), and general racist statements in the public sphere (11%). There were also reports of racist advertising in public, racism on the part of the police, racial discrimination from public servants and educators, and racially-motivated criminal offenses.
In total, 415 racist incidents were investigated by the Justice Ministry in 2022. This, according to Tuesday's report, indicates a general downward trend in the number of reported instances of racism.
Of those, 32% of incidents represented allegations of racism against Arabs and 17% alleged racist action against Ethiopian Israelis. 18% of racist incidents were reported by Israelis who came from the former USSR, 5% from Mizrahi Israelis, 5% from haredim, and another 15% from miscellaneous categories not listed by name in the report.
The percentage of cases opened for Ethiopians between 2019-2022 represents twice the percentage of the Israeli population which Ethiopians make up. That is to say, 3.5% of all cases 2019-2022 alleged racism against Ethiopian Israelis, who constitute approximately 1.7% of the population of Israel. This proportion is slightly smaller for Arab citizens, who represented 35% of cases in the three-year period and constitute approximately 21% of the population.
The same ratios were even more dramatic when applied to "contact cases" which are cases of alleged assault by a police officer. The percentage of police violence cases brought to the Justice Ministry by Ethiopians is approximately two and a half times larger than the Ethiopian percentage of the Israeli population. For Arabs, the percentage of cases is twice the percentage of the total population.
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the UDHR
The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination was established by the United Nations and is observed on March 21, the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid in 1960, per the United Nations' website.
The protesters were specifically demonstrating against the "pass laws," South Africa's internal passport system which allowed the strict maintenance of racial segregation.
The 2023 theme of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination focused on the urgency of combatting racism and racial discrimination, according to the United Nations' website. The 2023 observance of the day marked 75 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Among many other things, the UDHR states unequivocally that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
Racism against Ethiopian Israelis
Teachers from a school in Netivot opened a racist WhatsApp group earlier this month in which they gossiped and laughed about their Ethiopian students.
The students departed for a school trip on March 12, and the girls sitting behind the teachers on the bus noticed their teachers texting in the group called “Black [Girls] School Trip.”
The girls who saw this took photos and videos and shared them with the rest of the class.
One of the girls sent out a message to the teachers admonishing them for their racism.
The teachers were made to attend a hearing, where it was decided that they could continue teaching and their status would be reviewed in the next academic year.
Ariella Marsden contributed to this report.