BBC WORLD SERVICE -- In the wake of recent protests against police racism and brutality against Ethiopians in Israel, Professor Eran Kaplan discussed the struggles of the Ethiopian Jewish community. The interview aired May 3.
More than 125,000 Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, most immigrating in the 1980s and early 1990s, Kaplan says.
“Over the past few days we read more and more testimonies of young Ethiopians who claim that this is part of their norm,” says Kaplan, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor in Israel Studies. “We hear teenagers who go out at night and are being questioned by police or harassed by police. I think that the majority of most Israelis were completely unaware of those practices.”
Kaplan adds that he believes the increased awareness of racism and police brutality in Israel will help effect change.
“I think there will be much more scrutiny of the police and other officials in Israel, in the way they treat Ethiopians,” he says, “so I would see this as the first and foremost issue. … It will also help politicize the issue of the Ethiopians in Israeli society.”
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