As thousands of Israelis have been protesting racism directed at Ethiopian Israelis recently, a new recording revealed Wednesday an Israeli school bus driver in Jerusalem spewing racist slurs at schoolgirls of Ethiopian origin.
“People tell you that you smell bad, deal with it. Put on deodorant every day. You’ll smell better,” the driver was heard saying in the recording. “You need to respect us. We were living here before you, our lives are much more modern.”
When one of the kids apologized to the driver for the fact that the children are Ethiopian, he responded, “We are also sorry that you’re here. I get along fine with Israelis, but with you I have yet to get along … You will never change, you stay the same shit all the time.”
Yordenos Godetta, a sixth grader from Mevaseret Zion, a suburb of Jerusalem, said it wasn’t the first time the girls had been cursed by their bus driver.
According to Godetta, the Ethiopian kids also take abuse from other children. “When we got on the bus on Sunday morning on the way to school,” she said, “one of the Israeli kids told the driver, ‘open the window, it stinks of Ethiopians in here.’”
After they got to school, Godetta and the other kids played the recording they made for the principal, who complained to the company that employs the bus driver, Eyal Bachar.
Alon Barazani, the owner of the bus company, said in response that Bachar admitted to saying the things attributed to him, but claimed he made the statements in the heat of the moment, claiming that the Ethiopian children tend to vandalize his vehicle.
Meanwhile, Bachar has been suspended from his job until further notice, and the company’s management is working to end his employment.
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