Rivlin told journalists at a news conference the release of Mengisto, who is believed to be possibly mentally ill, is a “humanitarian issue.”
The president said in a statement, “We expect those holding him to act accordingly and release him while his condition is stable.” He added that Israel’s security and other government personnel would “continue to make every effort to bring the incident to a close as soon as possible.”
Mengisto walked south along the shoreline from his home in Ashkelon on September 8, 2014, and then simply kept going, crossing the border into Gaza along the way.
Hamas reportedly is claiming the Israeli was taken into custody for questioning but released when it was discovered that he was not a soldier. As it happens, Mengisto has never served in the IDF due to his health problems.
The terror group claims that he entered one of the smuggling tunnels in the southern border town of Rafah and exited the enclave to head into Egypt in order to proceed towards Ethiopia.
Israeli authorities say the terrorist officials are lying, either in order to preserve him as an “asset” for future negotiations with Israel over a possible prisoner swap, or because something happened to him along the way and the person responsible for him is hiding that information – even from Hamas officials.
In celebration of Shuvu’s 25th anniversary, three generous donors have pledged to match every dollar donated today, quadrupling every single donation made online.
Every donation counts in touching the lives of more and more Israelis, instilling within thousands of families a high level of secular and religious education.
Shuvu has been giving the gold standard of Jewish education in Israel for 25 years. With a network of 67 schools, kindergartens, after-school programs and parent outreach programs, Shuvu provides a dynamic educational and welfare network that reaches thousands of Jewish families each year through high-level academic and Torah study.
Initially founded to provide a much-needed education to children who emigrated from the former Soviet Union, Shuvu’s student population now includes many native Israeli children, new French immigrants and other students from diverse backgrounds.
The success of Shuvu’s programs is immense, with more than 22,000 alumni who have gone on to learn at Israel’s top yeshivas, serve in elite army units and land jobs at many distinguished companies. Shuvu has been lauded for its superior educational offerings, its remarkable Chessed programs, and its impact on Israeli society.
This year alone, Shuvu expanded its outreach and opened 29 new first grade classes in existing schools. Over 1,000 new students joined the Shuvu community.
As Shuvu’s founder Rabbi Avrohom Pam zt’l would always say, “It is beyadeinu – in our own hands!” The future of Jewish education calls upon you to help support Shuvu’s tremendous work. And for one day only, each dollar will quadruple! Today’s the day to begin building the future.
In honor of its 25th anniversary, the Shuvu Network of Schools in Israel has announced its largest fundraising campaign ever, to take place IY”H on Monday, June 22 – over a 24-hour period in 4 countries simultaneously!
The Shuvu Network was founded by Rabbi Avraham Pam zt”l in 1990, when the wave of Aliya from the former Soviet Union was at its peak. Rabbi Pam, together with other Jewish leaders, was concerned of the physical and spiritual welfare of these Russian Olim – and their children. They were in need of schools familiar with Russian culture and its high standards of education, and able to provide a basic Jewish education as well. After Russia’s 70 years of communism, many Russian Olim arrived in Israel with absolutely no knowledge of what it means to be a Jew. They had no sense of Jewish identity or Jewish pride. Shuvu aimed to fill this void.
From a mere 2 caravans, Shuvu has since developed into a major educational empire in Israel today, including 67 schools, kindergarten and outreach programs spread out across the country – from Akko up north to Be’er Sheva down south. Shuvu’s thousands of students receive a very high level of general education coupled with Limudei Kodesh, with an emphasis on Middos and Derech Eretz, and many exciting and educational activities throughout the year.
Seeing the unique Chinuch in Shuvu, many native Israelis over the years begged to have their children join the network as well. Today Shuvu can certainly be viewed as a “Kibbutz Galuyot” with children from Russia, America, Ethiopia, Israel – and recently many from Ukraine and France as well. Shuvu also operates many programs for the parents of the students, in order to connect them as well to the beauty of Judaism.
Shuvu is always doing more. This year alone, Shuvu has opened 29 new first grade classes, welcomed over 1,000 new students, and added programs in three of its campuses. With more support, Shuvu can continue inspiring the lives of more Jewish families. Sign up for our newsletter and stay tuned for Monday’s unbelievable news.
PM Netanyahu met with IDF soldier Damas Pikada who was brutally beaten up by an Israeli policeman, setting off protests by the Ethiopian community in Israel.
Pikada told Netanyahu his life story, which was a very tough one. Pikada is an orphan, his father died in Ethiopia and his mother died of cancer. He lives with his brothers, one of whom serves in the Air Force.
Pikada proudly serves in the IDF, and he praises the current protests, but condemns the violence by both the police and citizens.
President Reuven Rivlin said Monday morning that the Ethiopian protests against police brutality and racism “revealed an open and raw wound at the heart of Israeli society.”
Speaking at a meeting in his office with mayors and heads of the ultra-Orthodox municipalities and local council, the President added, “We must look directly at this open wound. We have erred. We did not look, and we did not listen enough. Among the protesters on the streets, were some of our finest sons and daughters; outstanding students; those who served in the IDF. We owe them answers.
“At the same time, it must be said in the clearest of terms. Protests are an essential tool in democracy, but violence is neither the way nor the solution. The demonstrators and the police notably maintained restraint throughout the protests, and we must not allow a handful of violent trouble makers to drown-out the legitimate voices of protest.”
Police said Monday morning that anarchists incited protesters to violence in last night’s march in Tel Aviv against police brutality and racism, undermining the demonstrators’ objectives.
Protesters were armed with rocks and metal objects which they hurled at police officers, 56 of whom were injured lightly. Police arrested 43 demonstrators and hurled stun grenades in the middle of a crowd blocking a major artery at rush-hour in Tel Aviv.
Both a senior police official and “Elazar,” who made Aliyah from Ethiopia years before the massive airlift in Operation Shlomo, told Voice of Israel radio (Reshet Bet) that the protest turned violent partly because of anarchists, whom the interviewer later said could be “leftists or rightists,” although the term “right-wing anarchist” in Israel is almost contradictory.
Left-wing elements, many of them funded by American Jews and non-Jews, often have been accused of inciting Arabs and illegal African immigrants to violence.
The charge of “racism,” which undoubtedly is true but not always to the Nth degree as sometimes described, is a good way to rile up the riff-raff. That is exactly what happened last night.
Mahratta Baruch-Ron, the deputy mayor Tel Aviv and an Ethiopian, tried to calm down the protesters, but to no avail; the anarchists and trouble-makers took over.
Like last week’s protest in Jerusalem that turned violent when nearly 1,000 protesters surged towards to the official residence of the Prime Minister, last night’s demonstration lacked responsible leadership.
Police did not interfere Sunday night even when protesters blocked major arteries near Rabin Square in downtown Tel Aviv, and it appeared that some people in the crowd were itching for a fight by deciding to proceed towards the high-speed intra-city Ayalon Highway.
Yediot Acharonot, which never misses an opportunity to whitewash leftist criminals and find cause against Netanyahu, reported that “social activists” joined the protesters.
The protests were sparked by a video shown on Israeli television last week of two policemen assaulting, without any provocation, an Ethiopian soldier, who was clad with kippa. Discrimination against Ethiopians is widespread while the police show no discrimination when it comes to excessive violence.
The protesters have concentrated on racism, while political leaders, including Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali Bennett, have hitched a ride on the “race card” rather than pursuing the opportunity to demand massive reform in the police force.
The plagues of racism and violence against police, as well as police violence against civilians, elicited an immediate response from Prime Minister Netanyahu.
He is meeting Monday with Ethiopian community representatives, soldier Damas Pakada who was filmed being beaten by the policemen. Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, and representatives of the Public Security, Social Affairs and Social Services, Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, and Interior ministries.
They will make statements announcing funding for projects aimed at the Ethiopian community and will ignore police brutality.
The new protest movement is continuing Monday morning with a march in Jerusalem. Travelers are advised that major arteries, including Sderot Herzl, Rabin, Shazar, Ben Tzvi and Ruppin are closed as of 11 a.m.
The U.S. Embassy yesterday warned citizens that protests that are “intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence” and advised, “You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.”
Below, an Ethiopian protester tells Channel 2, in Hebrew, that outside inciters turned the peaceful march into a violent riot.
Israel’s first Ethiopian doctor, who lit one of the traditional torches on Yom Ha’Atzmaut give years ago, is leading the IDF medical team in Nepal.
Dr. Avi Yitzchak made Aliyah in the early 1990s in the Operation Shlomo airlift and has become a symbol of success for the Ethiopian community.
He arrived in Nepal five days ago, when he said there was absolutely nothing in the realm of first aid, and decided where to set up a field hospital, which went into operation immediately.
“We began accepting patients from the Nepalese army hospital that was not able to function well, especially in the field of surgery,” said Yitzchak, who specialized in surgery when he studied medicine at Soroka Hospital at Ben Gurion University.
“We are receiving citizens of Nepal with medical problems that the Nepalese army hospital cannot treat beaus they accept only soldiers and their families,” Dr. Yitzchak said from Katmandu.
When not in the army, Dr. Yitzhak works as a surgeon at Soroka.
When he was in Haiti in 2010, he said, “It’s unbelievable how the small State of Israel managed in 20 hours to establish the most advanced field hospital in Haiti. There is a huge amount of gratitude for Israel’s efforts… I am proud to be a part of this.”