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October 24, 2016 / 22 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Ethiopian’

Rabbi Yisrael Rosen: No More Ethiopian Immigrants

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

Orthodox Israeli Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, founder of and judge in the conversions office of the Chief Rabbinate, director of the Zomet Institute for the interface of halakhah and technology, and the editor-in-chief of the annual halakhic journal Techumin, is calling on government to refuse to bring to Israel yet another group of 9,000 Falash Mura from Ethiopia.

Writing in the website Srugim, Rosen says he’ll never forget the assembly of Beita Israel in a shack that served as synagogue in the middle of a forest in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was visiting there in the late 1990s, as head of the conversions office, and now recalls that for the rank and file members, prayer constituted only one word: Urshalim (Jerusalem). That, according to Rosen, was an effort to bring home thousands of real Jews, who have since been integrated with varying degrees of success. But those Ethiopian Jews have little in common with the Ethiopians waiting to reach Israel these days.

The reason for the new wave of immigrations has little to do with the plight of Jews, according to Rosen, and much to do with Likud MK Avraham Neguise, an Ethiopian Jew, who, together with his comrade in arms MK David Amsalem, managed to squeeze out of Prime Minister Netanyahu a promise to fly in those 9,000 non-Jewish Falash Mura, in exchange for their voting with the coalition again. Herding 61 cats in his one-vote majority government, Netanyahu has had to do without those Neguise-Amsalem votes, which lost him several key bills during the winter session. Which is why the PM has pursued with such vigor his new coalition partner, Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu).

And each time MK Neguise, or foreign governments, or righteous lobbyists ask for another quota of Ethiopian immigrants who are Christian, not Jewish, they promise this is the last time. As in these 9,000 Falash Mura — it’s the last time.

Except that every time 9,000 Ethiopians board the planes out of Addis Ababa to Israel, 20,000 more take their place in the relocations camps. And Rabbi Rosen believes there are already more non-Jewish than Jewish Ethiopians in Israel. And more will keep coming.

The Falash Mura were unknown until Operation Solomon in 1991, when a number of them attempted to board the Israeli planes and were turned away. The Falash Mura said they were entitled to immigrate because they were Jews by ancestry, but the Israeli officials there saw them as non-Jews, since most had never practiced Judaism and were not considered by the Beta Israel as part of the community. In fact, even today, many in the Israeli Ethiopian community object to MK Neguise’s shenanigans.

Back in the 1990s, the North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry (NACOEJ) provided aid to the Falash Mura in Addis who had been left behind during Operation Solomon. Except that when all this food and medical care became available, more Falash Mura left their villages for Addis Ababa and overwhelmed the NACOEJ. The Joint Distribution Committee agreed to provide additional assistance on a humanitarian basis, without recognizing the Falash Mura as Jews who are entitled to immigrate to Israel.

A committee headed by Absorption Minister Yair Tsaban decided the Falash Mura should not be allowed to enter Israel under the Law of Return, but recommended that those refugees who were already in Addis Ababa would be allowed to come in on humanitarian grounds. But the humanitarian gesture only invited more Falash Mura to arrive with expectations of one-way tickets to the holy land. Israel estimated that fewer than 10,000 Falash Mura would be seeking immigration, but the number ballooned to more than 30,000, conditions in the relocation camps worsened, and Israel was embarrassed into taking many of them in.


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.


Family of Ethiopian hostage Held by Hamas Blocked Gaza Crossing

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Approximately 20 relatives of Avraham Mengisto, an Israeli with a mental condition and who crossed into Gaza last year, blocked the Erez Crossing Thursday morning to try to raise awareness of his captivity.

Mengisto, who is of Ethiopian origin, crossed into Gaza on a Friday last September. Perhaps because of his color, soldiers who spotted him entering Gaza figured he was a Gaza Arab.

After troops arrived at the scene to double-check, they found a knapsack he left behind. Inside was a Bible, which made it obvious that an Israeli Jew now was in the hands of Hamas.

The family is frustrated by the lack of information concerning their relative’s continued captivity, assuming he still is alive,

The brother said this morning at Erez Crossing::

We respect freedom of travel for everyone, Palestinians and Israelis alike, and we…demand that Hamas free my brother immediately.

Hamas, of course, could not care less what Mengisto’s relatives say, and the family is concerned that the hostage is not receiving the necessary treatment for his mental condition.


Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Police Finally Fire Officer Who Assaulted Soldier of Ethiopian Origin

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Police have finally fired the officer who was caught on video assaulting Damas Pakada and then arresting him for supposedly having attacked him.

Police commissioner Yochanan Danino explained that the unidentified police officer was not dismissed immediately because he “made several claims” and that discussions on in the incident included legal advisers.

The broadcast of the video of the assault set off violent protests by the Ethiopian community against police brutality and racism.

The fired police office still faces possible criminal charges, which Danino said are pending the outcome of an investigation and if there is enough evidence to indict him.

The video shows that the police officer approached Pakada, who was on a sidewalk with his bicycle, spoke to him and within one second started beating him.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Peaceful Protest by Ethiopians against Police Brutality Turns Violent

Friday, May 1st, 2015

A peaceful protest against police brutality by Israelis of Ethiopian lineage turned violent Thursday night when the demonstrators marched on the official residence of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Police used water cannons and stun grenades to disperse several hundred people who posed a threat to security at “Paris Square,” one mile from downtown Jerusalem. At least two police officers and five protesters were hospitalized in the melee, with demonstrators throwing rocks and bottles at police.

The Ethiopian community in enraged after footage emerged earlier this week of policeman beating a soldier from the Ethiopian community for no apparent reason. Original reports said he was told to clear the area because of a suspicious object.

Netanyahu stated Thursday night:

I unequivocally condemn the striking of the soldier from the Ethiopian community and those responsible will be brought to justice but nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands.

Immigrants from Ethiopia and their families are dear to us and Israel is making great efforts to ease their integration in society.

The two police officers who this week beat the soldier, who was wearing a kippa, face suspension, but that does little to reinforce trust in the law enforcement agency that has been rocked by sex scandals and has a reputation for beating up people, especially Jews, and even more so if they are religious or are settlers.

The video of the police assault showed two police officers hitting him mercilessly for two minutes on a street in Holon, adjacent to Tel Aviv. Somehow, the reported suspicious object evaporated from their agenda or simply was a fabrication.

Police brutality is a disease that exists around the world. Just ask the mayors of Ferguson, Illinois and Baltimore.

There was no indication that the police beat up the soldier because he was Ethiopian. Perhaps it was because he was wearing a kippa. Or perhaps it was because the policemen simply found an opportunity to hyperventilate.

Lacking in last night’s protest were settlers, Hareidim, national religious and secular Jews, leftists and right-wing Jews, and Arabs, all of whom have been victims of police brutality.

The protest also had no responsible leader who would have known better than to present a security threat to the Prime Minister’s residence.

The fact that almost all of the protesters were of Ethiopian descent underlined the feeling of racism, although Israeli police do not discriminate between race, creed and color when it comes to brutality.

Some of the protesters showed signs that they can be no less violent than police, with the leader of the Campaign for Equality for Ethiopian Jews telling Yediot Acharonot, “Apparently the streets of Israel must burn like they do in Baltimore, in order for someone to finally wake up. The apartheid regime is back, this time in 21st-century Israel.”

There is no doubt that the Ethiopian community suffers prejudice from some sectors in Israel, especially the elite Ashkenazi power-brokers.

But they are not singled out by the police, and Netanyahu has the chance to reform the police by appointing a Minister of Public Security who, unlike the outgoing minister, who wants to protect the public from investigations of crime and plain ineptitude.

Below is the video of the police attack on the soldier.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Ethiopian-Israeli MK Slams Sterling in Letter to NBA’s Silver

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

An Ethiopian-Israeli Knesset Member called racist statements attributed to Donald Sterling, the Jewish owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, “disgusting” in a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

“As a Jew, as a citizen of a country founded on the ruins of racism in Europe, it hurt me to hear Mr. Sterling, especially on this painful day,” Yesh Atid MK Shimon Solomon wrote in a letter dated Monday, Holocaust Remembrance Day. “It is sad to see someone of the stature of Mr. Sterling, who instead of choosing to lead and influence to change and fight these incidents, chose to make racist statements, so pathetic and disgusting like the last uneducated person in society.”

Solomon also called on Silver and the NBA to take the team from Sterling, who referenced Ethiopian Jews in the rant attributed to him.

“The dismissal of Sterling from his position as owner of the NBA team will send a message loud and clear: ‘NBA will not tolerate racism, and racism will not be tolerated. There are more important things than the game itself.’ This message will go all over the world, and is an important step in the war against racism in our global village,” he wrote, also saying, “Now the responsibility to deliver the message, sir, is on you.”

The NBA is scheduled to address its investigation into Sterling’s comments in a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.


Love-Love: Israeli and NY Tennis Groups Team Up for Clinic

Monday, August 19th, 2013

The Israel Tennis Centers Foundation and the New York Junior Tennis League are teaming up for a special inner city tennis clinic on Wednesday, behind the Robert F. Wagner Middle School on East 75th Street.

The clinic will be conducted by Dvorah Marsha, an Ethiopian immigrant and coach at the Israel Tennis Centers in Tel Aviv and Ramat HaSharon, Israel.

Besides playing and coaching Israel’s national girls’ team, she is studying for a Master’s Degree in Child Development at Bar-Ilan University.

Israel also will be represented by Dudi Sela, currently Israel’s top ranked singles player who is nicknamed the “Hebrew Hammer.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/love-love-israeli-and-ny-tennis-groups-team-up-for-clinic/2013/08/19/

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