The Knesset's Aliyah and Absorption Committee held session at the southern city of Kiryat Malachi Sunday, following reports of racism against Ethiopians who live there. The press recently reported that residents of a neighborhood there had decided not to allow Ethiopian Jews to move into it.
Other press reports showed racism against Ethiopian Jews in Mevaseret Tzion, near Jerusalem, where some non-Ethiopian parents reportedly refuse to send their children to kindergartens that take in Ethiopian children.
"I stand here as a representative of the Knesset, and I am full of shame," said Committee Chairman MK Danny Danon (Likud). "I did not believe that I would have to deal with the matter of racism toward our brothers who came from Ethiopia in such an intensive manner."
"All those who exclude Ethiopians need to be locked up in jail," he added. "Black is just a color." Danon said that a broad legislative effort dealing with racism is in its final stages of preparation. The laws being discussed include a ban on discrimination based on country of origin, a law guaranteeing equal wages to Ethiopian Jews, a law placing the burden of proof in charges of racism on the accused, and a widening of the principle of "corrective discrimination."
The legislators also visited the Or MeOphir pre-military academy headed by Rav Chaim Druckman.
"I am thankful for Operation Moses and all that the community of Ethiopian Jews contribute to the nation of Israel," said Rav Druckman. "In Or MeOphir there is an assimilation of Ethiopian Jews into society on the one hand, and recognition of the special attributes of the Ethiopian Jews on the other. We give them an equal chance to fit in and succeed in their private lives and lead numerous projects for excellence."