Israeli Jews of Ethiopian origin protest against
racism and discrimination in front of the Israeli parliament on January 18, 2012
Thousands of Ethiopian immigrants have staged a protest rally in Israel to condemn the growing social discrimination targeting their community.
More than 5,000 Israeli Jews of Ethiopian origin demonstrated in front of the Israeli Parliament in al-Quds (Jerusalem) on Wednesday calling for equal social rights and legislation against racism.
They hold banners reading, “Blacks and Whites – We’re all Equal”, “Social Justice,” “Our Blood is Only Good for Wars.” “We have problems and we will not rest until things change. As of now the response to racism has been merely cosmetic,” social activist Daniel Bahart said.
Several lawmakers also joined the protest, including Shlomo Molla of the opposition Kadima party, who is himself of Ethiopian origin. Ethiopian protesters also gathered outside the residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently in Holland.
Similar anti-racism rally were held in southern Israeli city of Kiryat Malachi last week.
The demonstrations were sparked by a new report earlier this month which revealed that city residents had signed a paper not to rent or sell houses to Ethiopians.
Following the protests, Israel’s Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Lander criticized Ethiopians for staging protest rallies, saying that they should be grateful for what they have received from Israel. Her racist remarks drew harsh criticism. There are more than 120.000 Jews of Ethiopian origin living in Israel who are being treated as third-class citizens.