Netanyahu and Rivlin attend ceremony for fallen; Both address issues of integration and racism; Netanyahu: We will turn racism into something contemptible and despicable
Ethiopian Israelis held ceremonies in Israel to remember those who fell on their journey to Israel. Thousands are believed to have died en route through Sudanese camps to the Jewish state.
The ceremonies commemorate the lives of Ethiopian Jews who died while walking to Israel during the period in which Israel organized massive aliyah (immigration) between the years of 1979 and 1990.
Speaking at a ceremony held at Jerusalem’s Mt. Herzl, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Rivlin were both in attendance. The ceremony comes during weeks of protests across the State of Israel by Ethiopians, in response to violence from Israeli police and racism and discrimination in Israeli society.
President Rivlin stated that Israel “failed” the integration for Ethiopian Jews, stating, “We didn’t see, we didn’t act correctly and we did not listen enough… in addition to our need for criticism and recognizing [our wrongs], it is upon us to believe in our ability to correct. The State of Israel cannot allow the best of its sons and daughters to feel they are disconnected and alienated.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu stated, “We will bring a comprehensive plan to the government to assist you in every way,” the prime minister said. “There is no room for racism and discrimination in our society, none… We will turn racism into something contemptible and despicable. There are societies that have succeeded in rising above this filth. In Jerusalem we heard your cry.. the whole nation heard it; I did as well.”