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Why isn’t this everyone’s protest?

We've tried peaceful demonstrations in the past, and yet police officers harm Ethiopians while the public stays silent
Family and friends mourn at the funeral of Solomon Tekah, in Kiryat Haim, on July 2, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Family and friends mourn at the funeral of Solomon Tekah, in Kiryat Haim, on July 2, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The goal of the protests last week was to transfer the murder investigation of Solomon Teka from the hands of the Israeli Police to the Israeli government.

The Ethiopian Jewish community is fed up with the degrading attitude of our government. Our community has protested in the past. We peacefully cried out about our pain and nothing changed. Government committees did not seek solutions, they only calmed symptoms.

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Our protests spiraled out of control because the Ethiopian community has suffered injuries and the loss of a number of our boys this year. The police claim to be in danger and without means to neutralize the person standing in front of them. Is this truly the only way? An Israeli soldier cannot kill a terrorist without clear and present danger. We have all seen cases of military restraint in cases of rock throwing. Why is it okay to murder a civilian? Why can police officers hurt or kill Ethiopians while the public and government stand by silently? Why is this the Ethiopian community’s protest and not everyone’s protest?

How much more can be overlooked?

  • Blood donations from Ethiopians poured into the trash

  • Yosef Salmasa killed by a police officer

  • Solomon Teka killed by a police officer

  • An Ethiopian soldier killed by a police officer

  • People refusing to receive care from Ethiopian nurses

  • Bar Mengistu, a mentally ill Ethiopian who crossed the border into Gaza and the government does little to rescue him

We have experienced covert and overt discrimination for years. Enough is enough! No more!

This post was contributed with the assistance of Nishmat – The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women.

Find perspectives on this issue at The Times of Israel topic page for Ethiopian-Israeli Voices.

About the Author
Adisalem Kampala is a Madricha in Nishmat's Identity Seminars on Wheels, a program that teaches elementary and high school students throughout Israel how to develop a positive identity and combat prejudice. She completed her National Service at a center for troubled youth in Ramat Eliyahu. Adisalem will begin studies for a degree in Social Work in the fall.
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