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Ethiopians face prejudice in Israel

Dec. 7, 2007 at 4:14 PM

JERUSALEM, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- Ethiopians in Israel face discrimination throughout the country, with many instances in schools, Ynetnews reported Friday.

One school in northern Israel boasted on its Web site of the small numbers of Ethiopian students. In another, four Ethiopian students at an elementary school were placed in a separate classroom on the grounds they are "not observant enough."

"We are being discriminated against for being black and powerless," one father said.

FIDEL, the Association for Education and Social Integration of Ethiopian Jews in Israel, said that a landlord refused to rent it office space.

"There is an office with a lot of medicine nearby, I don't want any problems with theft and drugs," the property owner reportedly said.

The Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews plans to ask the attorney general to monitor local authorities.

"Racism is a word that I have feared using until now, because I did not believe that it could exist in Israel in 2007, but the time has come to call a spade a spade," said Avi Maspin, a spokesman for the group. "Israeli society is profoundly infected by racism and unfortunately there is no suitable punishment for racism in Israel."

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