Israeli Deputy Internal Security Minister Gadi Yevarkan submitted a request to grant the Falasha community coming from Ethiopia a city within a prominent location in the center of the country, near Tel Aviv.
Yevarkan, who has Ethiopian origins, submitted a list of demands aimed at improving the community’s economic, educational, and health conditions.
Following a meeting on Tuesday, he said the proposals were set in coordination with the Falasha community officials and the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The idea to establish a dedicated city was met with objection by a number of Falasha figures, who said they wanted to be part of the Israeli society and to see their conditions improved through better integration and engagement. But Yevarkan said that the majority of Falasha clerics and community officials supported the establishment of a private city, where the people can exercise their customs and traditions.
He added: “The Falasha Jews, who are subject to a blatant discrimination policy because they come from the third world, want to prove that if given the opportunity, they can manage their own affairs to the fullest extent.”
The deputy was speaking following a meeting with the Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing, Yaacov Litzman, and other ministry officials.
“The establishment of a residential community for the Falasha Jews in Israel is the realization of the vision of parents and grandparents over generations…It is important to establish such a unique and private residential community. It will be a small step for the country, but a great step for the Falasha Jews,” he stated.
For his part, Litzman said: “There is a need to find housing solutions for the entire population, including members of the Ethiopian community. I would be happy if I took the right decisions that help them integrate into the state and make them feel that they are a desired and accepted part of the whole society.”
The Falasha Jews in Israel account for 180,000 people. They live in poor towns and suffer from high unemployment rates that recently reached 35%.
Source: Asharq Al-Awsat