NIF has joined with the Association of Ethiopian Jews in calls for the Israeli media to create pressure on leaders for the return of Avera Mengistu from captivity by Hamas in Gaza. In 2014, Mengistu, who had been going through a prolonged mental health crisis crossed into Gaza and was captured by Hamas, who has held him since. Many perceive the Israeli government’s lack of effort to secure Mengistu’s release to be emblematic of racism against Ethiopian Israelis more broadly.
The Association of Ethiopian Jews said, “Since the crossing of Avera (into Gaza) and his capture in 2014, this issue has remained under the radar and has not received adequate coverage in the Israeli media. To illustrate the disparity of forces in this case, you can read the quote from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after the video of Avera in captivity was shown last week: ‘The responsibility for his fate lies with Hamas,’ Netanyahu noted. And where is your responsibility, we ask?”