Sources in the Ethiopian community have charged that the Israeli government has not been aggressive enough in trying to discover the whereabouts of Avraham Mengistu – at least in part because he is Ethiopian.
Security officials released information Thursday about the abduction of Mengistu by Hamas last September, when he entered Gaza, but said that they had kept the story quiet until Thursday, when a gag order was lifted.
According to activists in the Ethiopian community, however, “racism” was at least partially to blame.
Members of the community used social media Thursday to complain that had Mengistu been from a more “Israeli” community, the security establishment would not have waited nearly a year to announce his abduction, but would have publicized it right away in order to place international pressure on Hamas.
Activists also claimed that racism was a factor in Mengistu's actual abduction. According to the report, Mengistu attempted to cross the border into Gaza in September. The IDF spotted him and attempted to stop him, but he ran across before he could be apprehended; Hamas arrested him upon his arrival.
According to the activists, the army did not try to stop him because they though he was illegal Eritrean migrant who was planning to try his luck at getting a job in Gaza.
The IDF had no comment on the allegations. Security sources say there are no negotiations underway for the release of Mengistu, as Hamas maintains the Israeli was already freed into civilian life in Gaza.
Activists also claim that despite the official gag order, members of the community have been trying to bring the issue to the attention of the Israeli public for months, but were routinely ignored by the media and Knesset members.