News Briefing: Ethiopian Protests in Israel

Tuesday, June 02, 2015, 2:00pm – 3:00pm EDT

On Sunday, May3, a riot erupted at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. What was initially an anti-police brutality protest became violent as Ethiopian Israelis made heard their years of frustration with a system that simultaneously invites them in and pushes them to the fringe. The riot on May 3 was not an isolated incident; on Monday, May 18, another protest erupted in the same area. The number of Ethiopians demanding equality and an end to police brutality grew from a few hundred to over 1,000 individuals in the streets of Tel Aviv.

Following two mass migrations of Ethiopians to Israel, both funded by the Israeli government in 1984 and later in 1991, over 125,500 Israelis of Ethiopian descent now reside in Israel. Ethiopians are full citizens, but the outcry nearly two weeks ago in Rabin Square indicates that there is a great deal of unrest and frustration from this community. Seeking equality, justice, and the same rights and freedoms as their peers, the Ethiopian community has taken to the streets to make itself heard.

To learn more about this challenge, JFN has asked two experts on this topic to provide us with a briefing on the current situation. Both individuals are of Ethiopian descent and have spent many years working hard in Israeli society to engender a more equal and tolerant society through legal advocacy and community development.

Join us on Tuesday, June 2, at 2:00 p.m. EDT for a news briefing conference call with:

  • Fentahun Assefa-Dawit, Executive Director, Tebeka – Equality and Justice for Ethiopian Israelis, and
  • Shira Shatto, Director of Aluma's "Zinuk BaAliya" program.

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