Violent riots in Tel Aviv between the police and Ethiopian Jews over the video above of two Israeli cops beating an Ethiopian in the IDF:
Protests in Tel Aviv over alleged police mistreatment of Ethiopian Jews turned violent Sunday, resulting in twenty-three officers being injured, according to Israeli police.
The planned demonstration by the Ethiopian Jewish community — incensed over a video gone viral that shows a uniformed Israel Defense Forces soldier of Ethiopian descent being assaulted by police — had been peaceful for hours before things took a violent turn
Authorities employed horses, water cannons and smoke to disperse the crowd in Rabin Square, which had been chanting slogans such as “a violent cop should be in jail.”
Twenty-six protesters were arrested, according to Israeli spokeswoman Luba Samri.
The soldier in the video, Damas Fekadeh, has called for calm and restraint.
The Tel Aviv protest comes on the heels of a largely peaceful demonstration in Jerusalem on Thursday that drew more than 1,000 people.
The videotaped episode from April 26 was a tipping point for Ethiopian Jews, some 125,000 strong, who say they have long felt like second-class citizens since arriving in two waves of mass immigration in the 1980s and early 1990s.
There is some important background to understand why Ethiopian Jews feel like second-class citizens. It’s because they are:
In the half darkness of an adobe hut in Gondar, Ethiopia, 20-year-old Gezahegn (“Gezi”) Derebe pulls out an acoustic guitar. As on many evenings when the power goes out, he entertains his family by singing. Though his mother, Ayelesh, sways to the tune, she doesn’t understand the lyrics, because Gezi sings not in his native Amharic, but in Hebrew.
Behind him, on a wall kept cool with a traditional mixture of cow dung and ash, hangs a laminated map of Israel. Above it are the framed photographs of his relatives who have already managed to emigrate there.
Gezi would like to join them.
For years, it seemed like only a matter of time. In 2003, when Gezi was 8 years old, his family sold its land and livestock and moved to Gondar, a hub for the Ethiopian Jewish community. Gezi enrolled in a school run by the Jewish Agency for Israel and staffed by Israeli volunteer teachers, with a curriculum designed to prepare young emigrants for their future life.
And then Israel pulled the rug out from under him and many others, after many of his relatives were airlifted. Why? From the transcript to the audio version of this story:
WARNER: But Gezi has reason to think that what’s holding him back is not centuries-old rabbinical law but rather the more mercurial dictates of politics. And to understand why he thinks that, we need to actually leave Ethiopia for a little bit and, with the help of NPR’s Jerusalem bureau, go to a living room outside of Tel Aviv.
HABTU ABATA: (Speaking Hebrew).
WARNER: This is Habtu Abata. He’s Gezi’s cousin, and he’s sitting on the couch in his apartment in Israel next to his father, his father whose twin sister is Gezi’s mother. So according to biology, if Gezi is not Jewish enough to come to Israel, neither are they. So why were they allowed in 2003?
ABATA: (Through interpreter) The first immigrations were easier because at that time whoever wanted to come just came. Now there are many procedures to go through.
WARNER: Habtu’s family thought they would come first, set things up and the rest of the family would follow. But by the time that Gezi and his brother and his mother applied, the mood toward Ethiopian immigrants in Israel had soured. Israel’s economy was slowing. Ethiopian Jews, it seemed, required more welfare and social services than immigrants from other places.
Avraham Negusie is the only Ethiopian-born member of the Knesset, just elected last month. He says there was no official change in policy, but embassy staff in Addis Ababa seemed to start making it harder to pass the interview, making people go back five, six, seven generations.
It appears there are caveats to the Law of Return.
I highly recommend listening to the entire piece.
I’m sure it has nothing to do with their color. :(
It’s all the fault of teacher’s unions and liberal policies.
Is it a real riot this time?
I like the part about the laminated map of Israel being “being kept cool by a mixture of cow dung and ash”. Nice touch. Do they have any Hebrew artifacts fashioned from “boogers and dirt”, or somesuch?
I wonder how they compare to the ultra-Orthodox.
@msdc: And it’s not like prejudice keeps them from education and jobs, does it? she said sarcastically.
My experience when I lived there was that the Russian immigrants gamed the system and got everything and the Ethiopians got screwed (always getting the worse army assignements too, while the Russians would not even get to serve, using for example the religious exception)
There was a scandal too many years ago of a blood bank throwing away blood donated by Ethiopian jews
But this goes even further back. The treatment by Ashkenazi Jews of Sepharadi Jews who immigrated after 1948 left much to be desired. For example read this, which is quite horrifying.
Little off topic John, but in the spirit of things, Creationist Telescope
A little levity for your Sunday good sir.
Was there also an element of which party they were likely to vote for?
This is obviously the fault of Rap Music
Hmmm. This wouldn’t be the same country that is dependent on billions of US welfare to fund their military would it?
Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant)
@David Koch: They learned from the best.
Complicated question, but historically, it was the so-called Oriental Jews — from Africa and Asia, Sephardic Jews generally — who ended the Labor Party’s decades-long monopoly on power when, as the new majority of the population, they elected Menachem Begin’s Likud bloc in 1977.
My, my, this sounds familiar.
I’m now hungry for Ethiopian food. Any suggestions for the Greater Houston Metro Area?
A lot of them also vote for Shas which is the Sephardi religious party. I haven’t seen the demographic break for the latest elections though so this is old information.
@Valdivia: From what I’ve read, the Labour Party is now almost exclusively made up of secular Ashkenazi latte sipping eliitists.
Whass ur problem cudlip?
Karen in GA
Thanks, racially-divisive Obama.
Carson tells TV station he’ll seek Republican presidential nomination
I was going to say something about Israel seeming less of a Western nation and more of a racist apartheid state, but then I remembered we just had our own riots over police brutality of minorities, so hell… I’ve got nothing.
Milk in NC
Tel Aviv cops taking their clues from Ferguson and Baltimore?
When we adopted Ethiopian orphans, we inadvertently “married” into a huge Ethiopian family. These people are the hardest working and most reliably honest people I have ever met. There’s no way I believe they “require more services”. They are entirely willing to lift themselves by their own bootstraps and when they have gotten just a little altitude, they will start lifting others up beside them. Most of the Ethiopian immigrants we met were specifically not eligible for social services and they would plunge right in and make their own way from day one. With a little help from previous Ethiopian immigrants. I can’t imagine any reason it would be different in Israel.
And yeah, what are they talking about anyway? The whole country is on welfare. I’m helping support them, and worst of all, my kids are helping support Israelis who won’t help support their fellow Ethiopians.
Heh. Try keeping him out of the debates.
@Milk in NC: It might be the other way around. A recent trend is for American police departments to receive training from the Israelis.
The painting is not kept cool with cow dung and ash, the wall the painting is hung on is kept cool with vow dung and ash. They are not covering the painting.
Cow dung is used for a wide variety of things in parts of the world.
indeed. Russian immigrants have a pretty established political bloc and squeeze everything they can out of it. the fact that Beta is dark skinned and Russians can be pretty racist doesn’t help. much of it is “I’m here, pull up the ladder” shit.
plus it’s not like the government has ever been too excited about Beta either.
@Milk in NC:
I doubt it. The video at the top of the page seems pretty mild by American standards. No shots fired, no bones broken, etc. which seems to happen a lot here, when someone gets on the wrong side if the cops.
I’m waiting for someone to explain how it’s understandable that some people might assume that if a black soldier in Israel is caught holding his bicycle in front of the cops, then he must have done something wrong.
@Comrade Dread: South Africa was a Western nation when it was an apartheid state, and its racism was as vile as anything in the good old USA.
Black Hawk Down is on BBC.
Oh, Irony. I love how you won’t stay dead.
@msdc: #1 is that I understand military service isn’t mandatory for the ultra-Orthodox…
Howard Beale IV
@Corner Stone: We’ll have to see if Sinclair Lewis was a man ahead of his time.
Tree With Water
“We’re all Israeli’s now”. No, wait a minute. That’s a different movie…
@Milk in NC:
No they were trained by israelis shock troops. I won’t do the home work for you:)
Amanda in the South Bay
There have already been issues with the Law of Return, with regards to the status of non Orthodox converts. Its all about building a fence around the right kind of Jews, and leaving the wrong kind on the other side.
@Howard Beale IV: So was South Park:
Mike in NC
@beltane: Interesting point. I recall attending a seminar 20+ years ago in Boston where they showed the ‘rubber bullets’ used by the Israelis. Nasty.
Ben Cisco (onboard the Defiant)
One might wonder if the Israeli MSM has a Bobo on hand, or if they even bother with the pretense.
@Amanda in the South Bay: But this controversy isn’t always ethnic. The Orthodox want to use this to slap Conservative and Reform Jews around. A provision of the Law was used to attempt to discriminate against a same sex married couple. And in 2007 it was found that the law of return had been used by 8 neo Nazi teens from Russia, with Jewish ancestry, to enter the country.
Howard Beale IV
BREAKING: Gunfire reported at anti-Islam event at Garland ISD facility
@Howard Beale IV: Looks like the facts are still being sorted out by scrambling media folk. Early reports are that two people have been shot…other reports say two people were shot dead…one report (at least) says both were suspects.
Aaaand – natch – it turns out that Pammycakes organized this hate fest. No surprise there!
I know it’s Texas, but is it normal for Texas (public?) school systems to allow their facilities to be used for this sort of thing? It stretches the definition of “extracurricular educational event” quite a bit. Oh well…definitely really different politics from mine down there in the Dallas area.
They have a “non-discriminatory” policy — and the same[*] facility was recently the venue for a pro-Islam event.
[*] Or a comparable facility, I don’t recall.
Anyhow, I’m off. Have a great evening.
@Cervantes: Ah, thanks. Good night.
exactly. and even more, the influx of said Russian immigrants has affected the voting patterns, pushing the electoral results ot the right.
There was a big hubbub a few years ago about Israeli health centers injecting recent Ethiopian immigrant women with contraceptives under coercion and, in some cases, without even informed consent. So while an Ethiopian in the IDF getting assaulted by cops is bad enough, it’s certainly not the first nor the most egregious example of systemic abuse that Ethiopian immigrants have faced in that country.
Villago Delenda Est
@Tree With Water: I thought we were all freedom loving Spartans fighting off the vile Persian hordes, bent on imposing their no slaves allowed culture on us?
Israel is racist as all Hell, with its own complicated ethnic hierarchies Americans couldn’t even tell apart, along with serious religious tensions between varying levels of Judaism. Being black does put you way down near the bottom, yes. Actually, while the sides are more complicated, the general ‘hyper-religious racists worried about how long they can maintain their power’ freakouts in Israel and America are causing pretty similar political situations.
The Pale Scot
Should be expected from a religion that is based on ethnic cleansing (kill all but the sexually useful women) and passed onto the christianists and islamists. Understand that 1500 bc they didn’t have proper yokes to harness oxen etc for plowing so slaves were very valuable, but old Yahweh couldn’t risk any cultural blending, and that attitude exists to this day in all the abrahamic cults. No matter how much twisting of their respective profits words is needed.
@Valdivia: That’s also my experience of Russian Jews in metropolitan Detroit.
A friend with roots in Israel going back to the 40’s once told me that it used to be viewed as quite rude to ask someone where their families came from pre-Israel, because it was such a strong status marker. He compared it to asking someone in the US how much money they make.
ETA: For example, it mattered not just that your family came from Poland, but which part of Poland.
Where, oh where, are all the missing fathers?