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August 31, 2016 / 27 Av, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Ethiopia’

Netanyahu ‘Not Prepared to Tolerate Racism in our State’

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday night received the conclusions and recommendations of a team that studied eradicating racism against Israelis of Ethiopian origin. Netanyahu received the report from Justice Ministry Director General Amy Palmor, who headed the inter-ministerial team on eradicating racism against Israelis of Ethiopian origin.

The team was established by the Prime Minister following a decision by the special ministerial committee on advancing the integration into Israeli society of Israelis of Ethiopian origin, which he chairs. The ministerial team is convening Monday to discuss the report and, most likely, approve its recommendations.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said after receiving the report, “I am not prepared to tolerate racism in our state. I am not prepared for people to be tripped up by the color of their skin. This is terrible. We, on the ministerial committee, have heard heart-rending and hair-raising stories and we started to take action against racism even beforehand. But now, in the wake of this report, which is part of our decisions, we will take further steps and I am pleased that there are people, men and women, who are determined to uproot this phenomenon from our lives. This befits neither our country, our citizens nor our people.”

The report is 170 pages long and includes 52 recommendations intended to help correct institutionalized and societal racism. It says: “For years, those of Ethiopian descent have experienced discriminatory treatment from Israeli institutions and citizens, exclusion from the public sphere, discrimination in education and employment, stigmatization and negative stereotypes, and have even been exposed to physical and verbal abuse.

“Claims by those of Ethiopian descent of institutional and police racism, and alternatively, of the forgiveness of the heads of institutions for such displays, have been heard throughout the team’s work. At this point, we have the obligation not to miss the opportunity to heal the rifts. Wide implementation of the recommended steps in this report is intended to provide the conditions required for zero tolerance for expressions of discrimination and racism.”

The report details the scandals related to the mistreatment of the Ethiopian-Israeli community in recent years, including the healthcare system’s practice of destroying blood donated by Ethiopians, injecting Ethiopian women with contraceptives without their consent, segregated maternity wards, segregating students in educational institutions, a lack of recognition of Ethiopians’ Jewish roots by the religious establishment, the use of Tasers against Ethiopian-Israeli Yosef Salamsa who later killed himself, the police assault on the soldier Damas Pakada, and Israel’s failure to retrieve Avra Mengistu, who crossed the border into Gaza.

JNi.Media

Israeli African Strategy Gaining More Allies

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) announced on Sunday that Director General Dore Gold met with the president of the Republic of Chad, Idriss Déby Itno, at the Chadian president’s palace prior to establishing diplomatic relations with the Republic of Guinea last week.

“The meeting took place in the wake of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to four African states, reinforcing the importance with which the prime minister views Israel’s relations with Africa,” stated the MFA on Sunday.

According to the MFA, Dir. Gen. Gold and President Déby Itno discussed topics of mutual interest to both countries, including ways to expand bilateral cooperation between them.

The announcement of the meeting between Gold and Déby Itno comes on the heels of Netanyahu’s statement last week that “yet another Muslim African country will announce reestablishment of ties with Israel.”

The Republic of Chad is an Arabic-speaking Muslim-majority state in sub-Saharan central Africa. Chad used to maintain official diplomatic relations with Israel, but severed ties in 1972 following intense pressure from its Arab neighbors and from Libya and Sudan.

Déby Itno is also the current chairman of the African Union (AU), a regional organization into which Israel wishes to be readmitted as an observer.

Netanyahu visited several sub-Saharan countries—Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia—earlier this month in order to gain allies in international forums such as the AU and UN.

“There are 50 countries in Africa,” Netanyahu said during his African tour. “Just about all of them, could be allies of Israel. They vote at international forums, and I know people don’t believe this, but I think we can change the automatic majorities in the U.N. and so on.”

Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin is also scheduled to meet on Monday with the president of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Marcel Alain De Souza, who is currently visiting Israel. ECOWAS is a regional group of 15 West African countries and is meant to be a single large political and economic bloc.

The UN Security Council rejected a Palestinian Authority resolution calling for Israel to withdraw from Judea and Samaria in 2014. According to Ron Prosor, then Israeli ambassador to the UN, Rwanda and Nigeria, which are now friendly to Israel, helped balance the vote in Israel’s favor by abstaining.

In addition, Rwanda, along with India and Singapore, also delivered a critical vote in June within the UN Non-Aligned Movement in favor of making Israel the chair of a UN committee (the Legal Committee) for the first time in history.

While “changing the dynamics at the United Nations is not instant pudding,” as former Ambassador Prosor commented, the Israeli Africa-facing strategy shift seems to begin to bear fruit.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Netanyahu First Israeli PM in Decades to Visit African Countries

Monday, July 4th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is leaving on an historic visit to Africa Monday, after decades in which no Israeli prime minister has visited the continent. The Prime Minister has set improving and strengthening relations with African countries as a goal; he will visit Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

On the occasion of Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit, the National Information Directorate has designed a special logo featuring the flags of the countries on his itinerary.

On the occasion of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit, the National Information Directorate has designed a special logo featuring the flags of the countries on his itinerary.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Africa will begin in Uganda where President Yoweei Museveni will welcome him in an official ceremony with a 19-gun salute (21-guns is for presidents). Afterwards, an official ceremony will be held at Entebbe to mark 40 years since the Entebbe raid.

Later the Prime Minister will meet with East African heads of state who are traveling to Uganda especially for a diplomatic meeting with him. Participating in the meeting will be Ugandan President Museveni, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, Zambian President Edgar Lungu and Tanzanian Foreign Minister Dr. Augustine Philip Mahiga. Prime Minister Netanyahu will also visit Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia where he will hold meetings with their heads of state and security and economic leaderships. He will make an historic speech before the Ethiopian Parliament.

Beyond its diplomatic aspects, Prime Minister Netanyahu also has major economic significance. The Prime Minister will be accompanied by approximately 80 businesspeople from 50 companies, all eager to establish commercial ties with African companies and countries. Last week the Netanyahu cabinet passed a $13 million plan to strengthen economic links and cooperation with African countries.

Economic seminars will be held in Kenya and Ethiopia with the participation of the traveling businesspeople and their local counterparts. The seminars are under the auspices of Kenyan President Kenyatta, Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn Boshe and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

JNi.Media

On This Day in 1991, IDF Makes a Miracle With ‘Operation Solomon’

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

On this day in 1991, Israeli Defense Forces accomplished a miracle and broke a world record for number of passengers transported in a plane, launching a covert mission to airlift thousands of people, thousands of miles away to bring them home to Israel.

It seemed impossible at the time, but Operation Solomon rescued 14,500 Ethiopian Jews on May 24 and May 25 and transported them 2,500 miles to a new life in Israel.

To date, the unprecedented airlift remains the largest aerial expedition in the history of the State of Israel and the largest transport of passengers in a single plane in the world.

In 1990, the Israeli government and the IDF became aware that the incumbent government of Ethiopia’s Mengistu Haile Mariam was coming closer to collapse or a coup. World Jewish organizations joined Israel in its concern for the Beta Israel, Ethiopian Jews whose mass emigration had to that point been impossible.

The Ethiopian government finally allowed all the Jews to leave the country at once in great part due to a letter from U.S. President George H.W. Bush. Up to that point, Mengistu was only willing to discuss their emigration in exchange for weapons.

U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz was sent as a special emissary by Pres. Bush to meet with the Ethiopian government to aid Israel in arranging the airlift. Assistant Secy of State for African Affairs Hank Cohen was also involved as he was an international mediator in Ethiopia’s civil war.

The operation itself was not publicized by media, thanks to a gag order under military censorship. The aircraft were all stripped of their seats in order to maximize their space.

Upon arrival 140 frail passengers received medical care while still on the tarmac; five pregnant women gave birth on the plane – they and their newborns were rushed to the hospital as soon as they arrived in Israel.

In 36 hours, 35 Israeli aircraft flew non-stop flights to transport 14,325 Ethiopian Jews to Israel. Among the aircraft were Israeli Air Force C-130s and El Al Boeing 7474s.

Hana Levi Julian

Ethiopian MK Meets Visiting African Women, Advocates Merging Israeli Tech with ‘Fertile African Soil’

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

MK Avraham Neguise (Likud) on Monday met at the Knesset with a delegation of prominent women from several African countries, including women from academia and education, as well as members of parliament, members of political parties and one journalist.

The African delegation is visiting Israel as part of the UN Women initiative, established in 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. UN Women – Africa, one of the largest branches of this initiative, works to “support regional gender-responsive measures to promote women’s leadership and participation in politics, government, business and society and to influence regional and national legal frameworks and policies to increase women’s leadership and political participation.”

MK Neguise noted that the 20th Knesset includes a record number of women members, and encouraged his guests “as leaders in your countries, to continue with your activity.”

Neguise, an Ethiopian Israeli, told the women that as MK he works to strengthen relations between Israel and Africa. To this end, he recently established the Lobby for Relations between Israel and African Countries, which he heads. Neguise also chairs the parliamentary friendship groups of Israel and Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Rwanda.

“I believe that the meeting between Israeli technology and the fertile African soil can effect change in Africa and strengthen the ties between Israelis and Africans,” Neguise told the delegation members, pointing out Israel’s advanced capabilities in the fields of irrigation, desalination, solar energy, medicine, education and tourism. “If we develop cooperation in these fields, both Israelis and Africans will benefit,” he promised.

Neguise, who serves as chairman of the Knesset Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs, noted the importance of Jewish immigration to the strengthening of Israeli society, and said part of the committee’s duty is to advance equal opportunities for recent immigrants in education, employment and housing. He noted that part of the challenge stems from the fact that 90 percent of Ethiopians who immigrated to Israel came from rural areas, “so there are economic, cultural and professional gaps.” In order to narrow these gaps, he said, Israel provides after-school classes for Ethiopian students, vocational training for adults and housing assistance for immigrant families.

While in Israel, the African delegation members are taking part in a leadership course organized by Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, a division of the Foreign Ministry. The course is being held in cooperation with Singapore.

Click here for a list of the African delegation members.

JNi.Media

Bnei Akiva in Ethiopia Will Ease Transition to Israel for Remaining Jews [video]

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

The Israeli government decided in late 2015 to bring the remaining Jews in Ethiopia home to Israel. That project is estimated to take five years. In the interim, and cognizant of the difficult time that some olim, particularly Ethiopian Israelis, have had in making the transition to Israeli life, a new project was launched.

That project, the Ethiopian Aliyah Project 2016, has as its goal preparing the remaining 6,000 Jews in Ethiopia for Aliyah.

World Bnei Akiva, working with the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli government, have committed to sending two Bnei Akiva shlichim (outreach workers) to Ethiopia, at intervals of two months at a time, work with those Ethiopians preparing for Aliyah. These students will teach Hebrew, Torah and Zionist ideology to the Jews waiting in transit camps in Addis Ababa and Gondar.

A successful project will mean that the new olim will have a successful transition to and absorption within Israel. There are opportunities to provide financial support to this program.

 

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Israel, Germany to Link on African Development Projects

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Israel and Germany signed a Declaration of Intent in Berlin on Tuesday to cooperate on joint development projects in Africa.

The two nations will develop water and agricultural projects in Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Cameroon, Burundi and Burkina Faso.

It is hoped the program will expand to other African nations once the first six are underway, according to Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold.

It was Gold who signed the Declaration together with Thomas Silberhorn, Germany’s parliamentary state secretary for the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

This is not the first time the two countries have joined forces to cooperate on projects in Africa.

For that matter, Israeli assistance in Africa has long roots dating back to the days of the late Israeli stateswoman Golda Meir.

In addition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Uganda in 2005 before returning to the prime minister’s office in 2009. During the visit he dedicated a memorial plaque to his brother Yoni at the old terminal building of Entebbe International Airport.

As did Meir, Netanyahu also pointed out in a recent meeting with American Jewish leaders that building stronger ties with African nations can have advantages for Israel beyond the continent – particularly at the United Nations.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-germany-to-link-on-african-development-projects/2016/02/17/

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