Falash Mura in Gondar, Ethiopia
Falash Mura in Gondar, Ethiopia
Photo: Nati Markus
דני אדינו אבבה
Danny Adeno Abebe
Photo: Ata Awisat
Falash Mura in Gondar, Ethiopia

Falash Mura aliyah is nothing but election spin

Opinion: Netanyahu is trying to portray the government decision to bring the group that has been waiting in Ethiopia for so many years as an act of Zionism, but its peculiar timing, right before the third elections in less than a year, reeks of cynicism and manipulation

Danny Adeno Abebe |
Published: 02.15.20 , 09:38
The government's recently approved motion to fly some 400 Falash Mura to Israel is a part of a behavior pattern that repeatedly disgraces an entire community.
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  • It is no coincidence this move was approved just three weeks before the March 2 elections. This is a political decision, not a Zionist one.
    Falash Mura in Gondar, Ethiopia Falash Mura in Gondar, Ethiopia
    Falash Mura in Gondar, Ethiopia
    (Photo: Nati Markus)
    The government has not decided to bring the hundreds waiting in Gondar out of any sincere concern on the part of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers for the deep longing of the Falash Muras' families waiting for them in Israel.
    It is based on the patronizing assumption that if the government were to bring 400 Jews right before Election Day – all of us, the voters of Ethiopian origin, would flock to vote Likud.
    Netanyahu's government had numerous chances to end the travesty that has been going on for too many years purely because of political considerations.
    So far, this government had chosen not to follow through on its promises, but now, right before the elections, they suddenly remember that a certain group had been waiting in camps in Gondar for many, many years. Bringing the Falash Mura at this time is nothing less than election spin.
    Netanyahu thought to himself defection of that Gadi Yevarkan, an Ethiopian Israeli MK, from Blue & White into his waiting embrace would shift the support of the entire community in favor of Likud. As if the entire community is a herd of sheep who can only be persuaded to vote Likud again if the ruling party includes an Ethiopian politician in its ranks.
    Is there anything more patronizing than this?
    I don't know whether Netanyahu is fully aware that most of us hold very diverse opinions about Israel's political situation.
    Some of us lean to the right, some have left-wing propensities, and some are bang in the center.
    Most of us, just like everyone else in Israeli society, are disturbed by rising violence on the streets, the growing poverty that is slowly eroding all that is good about this country, the dismal state of the healthcare system, the precarious security situation in the south.
    Here's a little surprise for you, Mr. Netanyahu. Some Ethiopian families even have fierce debates over U.S. President Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century." Amazing, isn't it?
    The Ethiopian community is not only concerned about the racism directed at us, the abandonment of Ethiopian Israeli Avera Mengistu to Hamas captivity in the Gaza Strip, the immediate immigration of the Falash Mura or the establishment of a committee to look into how the Police Investigations Department covered up cases of our cruel treatment at the hands of police officers.
    Demonstrators protesting the killing of Israeli Ethiopian teen Solomon Tekah by a policeman Demonstrators protesting the killing of Israeli Ethiopian teen Solomon Tekah by a policeman
    Demonstrators protesting the killing of Israeli Ethiopian teen Solomon Tekah by a policeman
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The government's decision to bring another 400 people will not change our voting patterns. On the contrary - if you thought this group was a Jewish group worthy of immigration to their historic homeland, you would have immediately allowed them to come, just like so many white Jews from around the world do.
    This attempt to bribe us right before the elections is an insult to an entire community's intelligence and reveals a very narrow and distorted perspective.
    As if we're not sitting around your campfire too and all that bothers us on a daily basis is the Falash Mura immigration, or lack thereof, to Israel.
    By the way, bringing the Falash Mura right before the elections was down to former Likud MK Avraham Neguise, who is now at odds with Netanyahu. The incumbent should not give the credit for the move to the defector Yevarkan.
    And another thing: At a recent government meeting, it was also decided to establish a commission of inquiry to examine the problematic behavior of the PID.
    It is important to note here that this decision is not an attempt to bribe the Ethiopian constituency.
    Actually, I'm worried Netanyahu is giving us too many gifts at once. We're not built for that.
    Therefore, I wanted to tell him that establishing the commission is a bribe for the Arabs, the disabled and other groups in Israeli society too - because the PID covers up the police's cruel treatment towards them too.
    In this instance, the bribe was intended for us, but everyone ended up benefiting from it.
    So I guess that's something.
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