I have no pleasure in writing this column. Disagreements between the poor and the poor and between the needy and the needy are a sure recipe for the disintegration of social solidarity and the victory of an unjust system – a system that enriches only the rich and weakens everything else. Economic history teaches us that when poor people fight over crumbs, none of them really benefit. The cake remained untouched in the mouths of the seventies, far from their table.
Despite this, it is important to hear the words of A. M (full name in the system), a jurist who has been active for several years in helping Ethiopians exhaust their social rights, including the right to housing. He was called last night when he heard the Director General of the Ministry of Housing announce that “598 apartments have been identified in unwanted public housing in addition to 186 apartments in nursing homes. The renovation and air conditioning of the apartments is expected to cost only NIS 83 million. The Ministry of Housing estimates that it will be equipped 1000 apartments.
“How can there be public apartments all of a sudden and there’s a budget to renovate them when we’ve been getting negative answers for years?” He wonders aloud, “Where are the apartments without demand? Ethiopians are not looking for apartments in the heart of Tel Aviv. We live in the outskirts anyway. How could they have suddenly discovered apartments there that will be renovated in a few years? Months?”
I don’t have a good answer for him. I don’t know if the Director General of the Ministry of Housing was right when he pledged that these are apartments “not provided at the expense of public housing but in addition to it,” as he told the Globes this morning. But like I said, I don’t know. What I know is that the severe discrimination against A and his friends is also based on the gap between the treatment of the Jews of Ukraine and the treatment of the Tigrayan Jews, who have been living under a terrible war in northern Ethiopia for several months.. It is associated with the Jewish people and their right to strike, but the feeling that The blood of the latter is less red than the blood of the Jews of Ukraine.
“Golda! We’re cute too. Not just immigrants!”
Complaints remind us of a. With Mizrahi complaints about the conditions under which immigrants from the former Soviet Union were received in Israel in the early 1970s, the most famous of the mass demonstrations organized by the Panthers after meeting with Prime Minister Golda were “Golda! We are nice too. Not only immigrants!” and “Congratulations on the deportation.” And what about Mizrahi?” This situation created great tension between new immigrants from Russia and the “old” immigrants from the 1950s.
Sociologists would probably explain that the gap between the treatment of refugees from wars in Africa and those in Europe stems from the fact that a person is close to oneself. When he sees a girl who looks like his daughter fleeing with a Hello Kitty bag from the horrors of war and her mother poses for her Instagram available to him, he is even more shocked than when he watches a black boy run away from a life unlike him. This may be a valid explanation but for the state it cannot provide an excuse for discrimination. A refugee is a refugee is a refugee even if his skin color is different and this is true even if he is a refugee entitled to return (and please do not answer that the refugees in Tiguri are not Jews. They are no less than Jews. Those who come now from Kyiv etc.).
This means that one thing is clear: they should not be discriminated against. Not on the external level – in providing assistance and absorbing Jewish refugees and those entitled to return from terrible wars, and not on the internal level – in allocating state resources such as public apartments. It is not moral, it is not Jewish, it is not socially wise. We don’t have enough social credit to repeat the mistakes of the 1970s even today. There is simply no.
The author is the Dean of Multicultural Universities at Ono Academic Campus