The inflammatory comments of Israeli politicians have stoked protests and attacks against African migrants in recent months.
It is sad to se how Israeli people hate Black people. At the moment, it is OK to be racist in Israel. On the news, Israeli citizens call Africans all manner of derogatory names. Some Israeli politicians including Benjamin Netanyahu called Black people ‘a cancer’. They say we do not need to absorb new people from Africa.
Israelis are now taking advantage of false accusations and inflammatory rumors deliberately spread among the society Against African Migrants and refugees accusing some of rape and crimes. It feels like there has also been a legitimisation of this hatred from the Israeli government.
When you hear how they talk about people who are simply looking for some place to hide – many of them have escaped from war – it is so hard to hear … especially as a Black person.
They curse us, like they used to curse African-Americans in the United States.
Everybody should think about the commonalities of human nature. I consider myself as a Jewish Israeli, but I am ashamed of my country. In my neighbourhood, people have scrawled graffiti saying ‘Black people, go back to your country’. They curse us, like they used to curse African-Americans.
It is a very complicated issue. It is forbidden to be against Beta Israeli people [Black Jews who came to Israel from Ethiopia] because they are Jewish, but it happens every day.
In the past, the majority of Black people in Israel were Jewish. Now there is no difference between them and the Sudanese or Eritrean migrants, especially between Eritrean and Ethiopian Jews. Some Beta Israelis feel as if the true face of Israeli society has really shone through.
One solution that has been proposed is to build a large camp in the south of the country to jail migrants there, to try to feed them and to not allow them to work until they find out whether they are refugees or people coming to make a living.
Something drastic needs to happen, then the government will have no choice but to act. Maybe somebody will be killed. I hope it will not happen, but we are not far from that kind of tragedy.
There was an arson case against a house where African migrants lived in early June. We are very close. Especially in Tel Aviv, the problem is really bad there.
People live in bad conditions and most of them have no work. Now Israeli businesses do not want to give them work. The migrants are worried about their security, about their kids. I guess they expected a much kinder reception
By; Shmuel Beru
Mr. Beru is a Beta film director who lives in Israel