Friday, July 08, 2005

This letter appeared in today's issue of Ha'Aretz. If I am not mistaken, it happened only once before that two of my letters appeared on consecutive days in the same newspaper. I was glad to see that this particular letter was published because it addresses two subjects that I care about: the Ethiopian Jews, and Israel as a democracy for bullies. I do not know many Ethiopians, but those whom I got to know ( at the university and in the army ) are all very dedicated Zionists, modest but ambitious, who can make a wonderful contribution to Israel and to Zionism. What follows is probably politically incorrect and as racist as hell, but when I see an Ethiopian soldier with a red baret I am filled with a mix of pride and admiration. The best and most Zionist soldier whom I ever served with was Gadi, an Ethiopian Jew who had served in the Border Police.
Regarding "Ethiopian community admits to deep-seated problems, Ha'Aretz, July 5th 2005: It is illustrative of their character that the Ethiopian community's activists do not search mostly outside their community to find or invent reasons for the problems that are haunting them. Whereas other ethnic and religious communities in Israel tend to blame mainly others for their troubles, the Ethiopians are modest enough to admit that there is a possibility that at least part of a solution for their difficult situation lies among themselves. This is even more telling if we take into account that when it comes to immigrant absorption this community has been widely neglected in comparison with the other large immigrant community that has settled here in the last two decades, and that Israel's state and society bear a large responsibility for the largely failed absorption and acceptance of the Ethiopians . In the bullies' democracy that Israel has become you have to shout in order to be heard, and to be violent in order to be taken seriously. Being self-effacing, polite and Zionist without demanding big favors or promoting special interests turns you into a sucker, and suckers are ignored or ridiculed here. If the Ethiopian community's predicament is not taken seriously immediately by the establishment, and if a broad and outspoken political leadership is not created and cultivated among - in particular the young - Ethiopians, thousands of Zionists with a wonderful potential in so many fields will be lost forever for the Jewish state.

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