The Handling of Racism Will Wait | Citizen’s Emporwement Center in Israel

The Handling of Racism Will Wait

The Handling of Racism Will Wait

Calcalist 30.07.2018


The Palmor Committee, which was formed as a result of the protest by Israel’s Ethiopian Jewish community, recommended a number of measures to eradicate racism against the community Ÿ What’s up with that? Not much

By Telem Yahav

What happened with the committee’s conclusions with regard to eradicating racism against the Ethiopian Jewish community? Significant portions were implemented, other portions of the decisions were not implemented at all, and the rest were only partially implemented. These were the findings of the report by the Citizens’ Empowerment Center in Israel.

The Palmor Committee was formed as a result of a protest against the violent arrest of Damas Fekadeh, the Ethiopian Jewish soldier who was beaten by police in 2015. The committee issued many recommendations regarding the eradication of racism, some of which were implemented under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice, and a unit was formed to coordinate the battle against racism, to handle complaints about racism, to form a public council to work in conjunction with that unit, and to create a list to diversify the experts appearing in the media. However, other portions of the recommendations were not implemented, such as cancelling the court fee for lawsuits pursuant to the Prohibition of Discrimination Law.


Where is the commissioner?

No commissioner was appointed in the Civil Service Commission to prevent racism in every government ministry, no organizational climate survey was performed and no occupational diversification was performed in the government ministries, no report was published about occupational diversification in the government ministries, and no pool of candidates was created to place college graduates from the Ethiopian Jewish community in civil service. The report was also not fully implemented at the Ministry of Education: the ministry only partially built work plans, which included compulsory continuing education courses on the subjects of equality and the handling and prevention of racism and discrimination, and the ministry only partially increased the use of content on the history and heritage of Ethiopian Jewry.

Relative success was recorded in implementing the report at the Ministry of Labor and Welfare, in light of the translation into Amharic of official documents being issued by the Youth Probation Service or during meetings of the Youth Probation Service. Some of the committee’s recommendations also addressed the Ministry of Culture and Sport, which was supposed to establish a cinema incubator for the Ethiopian Jewish community (a recommendation that was not implemented) and a fund for the initiation of projects by Ethiopian Jewish artists (a recommendation that was not implemented). The recommendation to establish a fund for initial training to encourage Ethiopian Jewish artists was only partially implemented. The State Attorney-General was also supposed to clarify procedures with regard to the use of the Penal Law, while emphasizing the racist motive in criminal offenses. This was not implemented, according to the report of the Citizens’ Empowerment Center in Israel.


“Do not be satisfied with partial implementation”

“Many actions that were not under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice and the State Attorney-General were only partially implemented or were not implemented at all – the same is true with regard to most of the activities of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture, and some of the activities of the Civil Service Commission” – quoting from the report. “The recommendations of the Palmor Committee that were adopted as a binding government decision were perceived by the ministries as merely a ‘recommendation,’ and they failed to change their priorities within the units and offices.”

According to Einat Fischer-Lalo, the Executive Director of the Citizens’ Empowerment Center in Israel, “the Palmor Committee report is one of the most important steps that were taken to eradicate the racism against the Ethiopian Jewish community, and to eradicate racism in general, and the government cannot be satisfied with partial implementation. Alongside the measures that have already been taken, the government must do everything in order to implement the recommendations, which were approved in their entirety, in all of the ministries.”