The protests by Ethiopians were ignited by the killing of the youth, but the rage has built up and bottled up over a long period of time. Racism, discrimination, and over-policing have become routine. In the past, we have published testimony from Ethiopians. Could this outbreak of rage have been foreseen?
Michal Pe’ilan | News | Published on July 3, 2019, 23:05 | Updated on July 4, 2019 00:52
In the past three years, important decisions have been implemented in an attempt to bring about equality between the Ethiopian community and the rest of the population, and to prevent selective enforcement: The Ministry of Justice established a unit to mitigate racism, the Police began using body cameras, and training and qualification programs for policemen were implemented. Despite all this, 33% of government decisions have not yet been implemented. Five months ago, in the main news broadcast, we presented testimony from Ethiopian IsraelisI n which they uncovered the deprivations and the sense of discrimination they suffer from in Israel. Now, following the violent demonstrations, we have returned to this series of articles.
Compulsory training programs for teachers regarding the struggle against racism have not been implemented. Even building a work plan against racism, and representation and integration of Ethiopians in the media, have not been implemented. The Palmor Committee placed great emphasis on education, but as we can see, there has been no progress, especially there.
Even in decisions concerning the police – the sections concerning how to handle minors have not yet been implemented. For instance: publication of reports on dealing with police officers who used violence and racism toward the community, refreshing old procedures concerning the arrest of minors, and documenting investigations of minors – none of these were decisions was implemented.
Despite the work that has been done, there is still a long way until this entire community gets equal opportunity in society. Adv. Einat Fisher Lalo, CEO of the Center for Citizen Empowerment, said, “It is befitting that, in light of the situation, and after such a long time has passed, all government offices, led by the Ministry of Internal Security and the Israeli Police, should do all that they can to implement all parts of the government decisions as soon as possible, before new committees are created, and new decisions and new policies are made. There is still a lot to do.”
The tragic incident of Salomon Teka, ob’m, led to a wave of demonstrations, some of which turned violent, but the sense of anger and rage at the State is much more complex and deep. Just five months ago, we presented every night on the main newscast testimony from the Ethiopian community about how it feels to be Ethiopian in Israel, about the discrimination and the daily humiliation. Aviva talked about how she fought with the Municipality of Rehovot so that her child could be accepted into school.
For many months, Avner Tigbo of Afula could not rent an apartment because of the color of his skin. In his testimony, which we broadcasted at the time, he said, “Despite the fact that I support myself and work, my money is worth less than that of others.” Sara, a young Ethiopian woman, also wanted to rent an apartment, and couldn’t find one because of the color of her skin and her customs.