Irit Botzin, a soldier from northern Israel, found herself in a complicated situation while on her way to the base where she serves.
On her way from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon, according to a Facebook post she wrote, an Ethiopian Israeli got on the bus and asked to sit near a passenger of Irit's age. "I rode all day back and forth to the base," she said. "I saw an Ethiopian woman get on the bus and stop by my seat," she said.
The woman spoke to a young woman that sat parallel to Irit and had a free seat near her. After realizing that something is not right, Irit took off her headphones to listen to the conversation. She was surprised to hear the young passenger speak rudely to the Ethiopian woman.
The passenger chuckled and said that the woman cannot sit by her side, claiming she is "allergic to [her] smell." The incident did not go unnoticed and other passengers reminded the young woman that she is in a public place.
Shocked by the incident, Irit wrote a post on social media. "It is the story of an entire community that just wants to feel equal," she wrote. "Not to receive more, but just be a part [of the Israeli society] and not be persecuted."
"How can it be that these things still happen? I thought we are all dealing with big issues like a third general election, security; have we forgotten how to behave toward one another?"
The situation ended with a small act of defiance– the Ethiopian woman sat by the passenger until reaching her destination.