We Stand With Ethiopian Israelis And All Protesting Racism And Police Violence

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[Press Release]

On Wednesday, January 30th, Israelis protested racist treatment by police, including violence, toward Ethiopian Israelis and other minority groups. Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, released the following statement:

“NIF stands with the thousands of Israelis, led by Ethiopian Israelis including our grantees at the Association for Ethiopian Jews, who are protesting racism and police violence in Tel Aviv today. We join them in stating that all human beings, regardless of colour, race, religion and nationality, were born equal.

“The story of Yehuda Biadga, an Israeli of Ethiopian descent who was suffering from mental illness when he was shot and killed by Israeli police, prompted this recent round of protests. But it isn’t the first time Black, Arab, and Mizrahi communities in Israel have sounded the alarm about racist and discriminatory treatment from Israeli police. Just like in America, Yehuda’s community finds itself needing to assert that Black lives matter in Israel, too.”

Ziva Mekonen-Dago, director of the Association for Ethiopian Jews, said:

“The racist attitude of the police towards Ethiopian descendants is a daily reality. Young people tell us that if they walk around wearing new shoes, police stop them and ask if they have receipts for their shoes, or how is it that they have a new smartphone. This is the reality in the neighbourhoods. I know a lot of Ethiopian descendants who volunteer with the police because they know that they have to be inside this system, because otherwise they and their children are not safe. It does not make sense that I am afraid when my 17-year-old son leaves the house. It’s not reasonable.”

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