Israel's President, Moshe Katsav, had this to say about Ethiopian Jews:
Israel may have been wrong to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel, President Moshe Katsav said Sunday in an unusually candid comment. "At times I feel we did an injustice to the Ethiopian population by bringing them to the country," the president said after being presented with recommendations for fighting violence within society.
Katsav's remarks came after the Ministry of Absorption released data showing that during 2005 there was a drop of 11 percent in crimes involving youths of Ethiopian descent and a 10 percent drop in crime involving youths from the former Soviet Union.
The president also criticized the lack of appropriate care for youths who emigrated from Ethiopia.
President Katsav did not make the same remark about Russian Jews. I cannot say what President Katsav meant. But I can say this – corruption and repeated (and uncorrected) mistakes do not lead to good absorption. And neither does the bigotry so in evidence from both politicians and rabbis.
But, if history is any indication, Israel will not learn this lesson. The corrupt and inept absorption will continue, politicians and rabbis will not stop being racists. The price for this will be paid by Israeli society, which will have, for years to come, black people on its margins – black people who wanted nothing more than to come home after thousands of years of exile. And it will be paid by Ethiopian Jews, who came home to Israel only to discover the color of their skin is more important than their years of sacrifice.
Shame on us all.