Ethiopian Jews find inspiration in MLK, Malcolm X

Thousands of members of the small Ethiopian-Israeli community demonstrated yesterday in Jerusalem against racism and discrimination. This was the last rally in a wave of protest that erupted after religious homeowners in Kiryat Malakhi, a town south of Tel Aviv, announced in a public letter that they will refuse to rent their apartment to Ethiopians.

You can read Max Schindler’s report from the protest here. What caught my eye was this photo:

Ethiopian Jews find inspiration in MLK, Malcolm X
Ethiopian Jews protesting in front of the Knesset, Jan 18 2012 (photo: The middle sign reads: "we are fighting for greater rights than civil rights – these are human rights"

Black Ethiopian Jews were brought to Israel in two waves in the eighties and early nineties. A political arrangement between the Likud and religious parties had the majority of the kids from the community sent to religious schools, where many have suffered  discrimination and racism. Many Ethiopians serve in the army’s border-patrol units, which are permanently stationed in the West bank and in Israeli Palestinian towns. Lately, I have seen more and more young Ethiopians adopt African and American counter-culture icons.


Picture is courtesy of Hamaabara – A Jerusalem-based social justice project (Blog, Facebook).