5 July 2019
In the wake of the shooting of 18 year old Ethiopian-Israeli Solomon Teka z”l by an off-duty police officer, and the subsequent protests by the Ethiopian community, NIF Australia today announced an emergency grant of $20,000 to the Association of Ethiopian Jews.
The emergency funds will hire a community affairs director to work with the community to combat the wider impact of institutionalised racism felt by Ethiopian-Israelis.
“The Ethiopian community in Israel has been telling us for years that they are unfairly targeted by police, and this is the second shooting of a young Ethiopian man in just a few months. Provided at an important time, these funds will build the capacity of the Association for Ethiopian Jews and allow them to respond to the ongoing situation,” said NIF Australia executive director Liam Getreu.
He continued: “This is a time for all of us to raise our voices and say that we stand with our Ethiopian Israeli friends and all Israelis to say – enough. We’ve had enough of racism and police violence against minority populations.”
This incident comes six months after another Ethiopian-Israeli man was shot dead by police, and four years after an Ethiopian-Isareli soldier was beaten up by two police officers in a racist attack that shocked the Israeli public.
Since Solomon’s death Ethiopian-Israelis have taken to the streets against targeting by police and discrimination felt by the community across a number of areas in society. Thousands of Ethiopian-Israelis still live in absorption centres and are waiting for access to permanent housing, while education outcomes and employment levels lag well behind the rest of the Jewish population.
The Association of Ethiopian Jews (AEJ) is Israel’s premier Ethiopian Israeli-led organisation. It was founded in 1993 to follow up the American Association for Ethiopian Jews’s efforts from 1969-93 to promote aliyah from Ethiopia.
“A lot of power comes from the thousands of Australian Jews part of the NIF community. It means we have the ability to make significant, strategic and timely investments in Israeli civil society when issues like this crop up,” Getreu said.