On February 22, a forum of ten Ethiopian Israeli city council members organized a panel to educate candidates on issues of concern to the Ethiopian community and to hear their response. The event featured candidates from five different parties – Kulanu, Zionist Union, Yesh Atid, Meretz and Jewish Home.
Council members opened the session with a presentation that focused on police brutality and on the disproportionately low percentage of Ethiopians employed in Israel’s civil service. Both of these issues relate to underlying forms of racism that are less prominently reported on by the media, but which have a much larger impact on community members as a whole.
Following the presentation candidates engaged with council members on how the next Knesset could best address these challenges.
On March 2nd, at another pre-election event in Ramla, 90 community members had the opportunity to ask the candidates to share their vision on how they would address the challenges confronting the Ethiopian community. Representatives from Kulanu, Yesh Atid, Jewish Home, and the Zionist Union attended the event.
One of the goals of Shatil’s work with the Ethiopian community has been to empower its activists to advocate for their rights and welfare, and to engage in the political sphere on the local and national levels.
These events are indicative of the progress being made.