President Rivlin Speaks about Protests by Israel’s Ethiopian Community

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IMG-20150503-WA0269President Reuven Rivlin on Monday morning 15 Iyar met in his office with mayors and heads of the chareidi municipalities and local councils. At the beginning of the meeting, he spoke about the protests held in recent days by the Israeli Ethiopian community.

President Rivlin said, “As we open this meeting, I cannot but begin with reference to the difficult pictures we saw yesterday and on motzei Shabbos, to the pain, distress, and anger that arose from the community of Israelis of Ethiopian origin – the majority of whom were born and grew up here in Israel. The protesters, in Jerusalem and in Tel Aviv, revealed an open and raw wound at the heart of Israeli society. The pain of a community crying out over a sense of discrimination, racism, and of being unanswered. We must look directly at this open wound. We have erred. We did not look, and we did not listen enough. Among the protesters on the streets, were some of our finest sons and daughters; outstanding students; those who served in the IDF. We owe them answers.”

“At the same time, it must be said in the clearest of terms. Protests are an essential tool in democracy, but violence is neither the way nor the solution. The demonstrators and the police notably maintained restraint throughout the protests, and we must not allow a handful of violent trouble makers to drown-out the legitimate voices of protest. We are not strangers to one another, we are brothers, and we must not deteriorate into a place we will all regret. On the eve of the formation of the new government, we all have an opportunity, and an obligation, to begin a process of healing and repairing of the faults, and of restoring the essential trust of the community in the law enforcement forces.”

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)