As Long As You Are Not Black, Israel’s Apartheid is Your Homeland

Israel’s reputation as a racist and exclusionary state is growing due to its mistreatment of Palestinians and discrimination against minority Jews. This racism extends beyond Palestinians to also include Jews from ethnic minority backgrounds. Despite being considered above Palestinians, these minority Jews are still treated as inferior compared to non-black Jews.

Bringing Black Ethiopian Jews

Ethiopian Jews have faced significant challenges in Israel, including discrimination in housing, employment, and education. The covert operations that brought Ethiopian Jews to Israel included Operation Moses (1984), Operation Joshua (1985), and Operation Solomon (1991). These operations involved the transportation of thousands of Ethiopian Jews from Sudan to Israel in an effort to rescue them from political turmoil and bring them to their alleged homeland. The airlifts were part of a coordinated effort involving the Israeli Army, the CIA, and other entities to facilitate the immigration of Ethiopian Jews to Israel. These operations were conducted under challenging circumstances and had significant implications for the Ethiopian Jewish community. Despite being brought to Israel, Ethiopian Jews have struggled to integrate into Israeli society.

Racism in Housing

One of the most significant challenges faced by Ethiopian Jews in Israel is discrimination in housing. Some areas have policies of not selling apartments to non-white Jews, and there have been reports of graves in Jewish cemeteries being separated according to the color of the corpses. This discrimination has contributed to the marginalization of Ethiopian Jews in Israeli society.

Racism in employment

Ethiopian Jews have also faced discrimination in employment. A recent study revealed that 53% of employers preferred not to hire Ethiopians, and 70% of employers tended not to promote them. Out of 4,500 Ethiopian Jews who graduated with degrees, only 15% managed to find work in their field. There is also an unfair testing system used by the Civil Service, with culturally biased tests automatically disqualifying Ethiopian-born candidates from qualifying for certain government positions.

Racism in Education

In education, Ethiopian Jews have been placed in lower-level classes and have been subjected to racist treatment by teachers and other students. These discriminatory practices have contributed to the marginalization of Ethiopian Jews in Israeli society. Ethiopian students in Israel face discrimination throughout the education system, with racism from teachers and institutions hindering their academic progress. Some are segregated from their peers, subjected to separate classes, different recess hours, and even given cab fare to avoid interaction. Racial slurs are common, and poverty further exacerbates their educational disadvantages, as many cannot afford nursery or pre-school programs, leading to higher dropout rates for early entry into the workforce.

Racism in Healthcare

The mistreatment of Ethiopian Jews in the healthcare system is another significant issue. In 1996, it was discovered that blood donated by Ethiopian Jews was being thrown out by hospitals due to irrational fears that their blood would be contaminated with HIV. This act of deception and racial profiling marked a new low point in the relationship between Ethiopian Jews and Israelis. Over 200 people protested in November 2006 outside government offices in Israel against the Health Ministry’s decision to discard donated Ethiopian blood. Gadi Yabarken, one of the organizers, questioned the treatment of fellow Jews and their disregard for the significance of blood according to the Torah.

In 2010, a controversial health issue emerged in Israel, where female Ethiopian immigrants were reportedly being given a long-term birth control drug. Women’s groups accused the policy of being racially motivated in an attempt to decrease the number of black babies. Shockingly, 57% of those prescribed the drug were Ethiopian women, despite their community representing only 2% of the total Israeli population.

Racism in Army 

Ethiopian Jews face widespread discrimination in the workforce, with high rates of rejection for job applications and limited promotion opportunities. Many Ethiopian graduates struggle to find work in their field and are often relegated to temporary or unrelated positions. Racist biases during job interviews and a culturally biased testing system further impede their career prospects. In the Israeli Army, Ethiopian soldiers endure degrading treatment and frequent humiliation, leading to alarming suicide rates among this community. Instances of explicit racism, such as being denied access to army facilities, contribute to the distressing conditions experienced by Ethiopian soldiers.

Black Ethiopian as a boost of Illegal Settlements

Ethiopian immigrants have also been used to bolster the population of illegal settlements in the West Bank. This practice has been criticized by human rights organizations, as it contributes to the displacement of Palestinians and violates international law.

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Youth's poetry ignites my quest, Against oppression, I protest. In Palestine's struggle, voices rise, For freedom, peace, justice, my cries.
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