An Ethiopian soldier serving at an Air Force base in southern Israel petitioned the High Court of Justice Thursday over racial slurs hurled at him by a senior officer.
The soldier asked the court to order IDF officials to explain why disciplinary action was not being taken against a major whom he claims called him an "annoying nigg*r."
The private filed the petition against several high-ranking officials, including the IDF chief of staff and the Air Force commander.
The soldier claims the major told his commander: "That nigg*r soldier of yours pisses me off." When told that the soldier in question was there and could hear the comments, the major said: "I know."
After the incident the soldier says his commander gave him a day off, which he used to schedule a meeting with the base commander. The latter, for his part, arranged a meeting between the major and the soldier two days later, during which the former said he did not remember uttering those words and that they may have been taken out of context.
"I know you have personal problems, and I'll do my best to help you from here," the soldier says he was told by the senior officer.
He claims that beyond this, he received no apology from the major, adding that no disciplinary measures were taken against the senior officer who continued to serve as his commander.
The soldier then complained to the IDF complaints commissioner, who replied that despite the racism apparent in the remark, he saw no reason to intervene because high-ranking officials at the base had already taken care of the matter and the major had shown remorse.
In the petition, the private says that on another occasion, the major refused to shake his hand. The petitioner also questions why the officer was not being discharged from his position and why criminal proceedings were not being initiated against him.
"Israeli society suffers from severe ailments in everything relating to the absorption of the Ethiopian community, and we must respond harshly to racism in order to fight and minimize this, publicly and punitively," the petition says.
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