Racism protest - Daniel Bar-On - January 2012
Protest against racism in Tel Aviv. Photo by Daniel Bar-On
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Hundreds of Israelis demonstrated in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday night, protesting racism against Israelis of Ethiopian origin.

The demonstrators blocked a major intersection, while chanting slogans such as “The people demand social equality”, and “We will not allow blacks to be miserable.”

The demonstration came as a response to a wave of discriminatory incidents, including housing committees in Kiryat Malachi which have been refusing to sell apartments to Ethiopians. Hate graffiti against Israelis of Ethiopian origin was also sprayed on several vehicles and walls in the town last several weeks ago.

Unlike previous protests in Jerusalem and Kiryat Malachi where the majority of protesters were of Ethiopian descent, half of the attendees at the Tel Aviv demonstration were Israelis of all ethnicities and ages.

One protest leader who spoke to the crowd said that every person in attendance should ask themselves why there are not enough Ethiopians around at their work place, while all the country’s kiosks are filled with talented people who were “taught to believe they should not strive for more.”

“We are no longer innocent, there will not be a utopia here, but we do need rules and norms…everyone deserves full representation,” the leader said.

The protest comes a week after 5,000 people demonstrated against racism in Jerusalem.
During that protest, protesters blocked a major road in the capital and marched in front of the Knesset, holding signs that read, "Blacks and Whites - We're all Equal," "Social Justice" and "Our Blood is Only Good for Wars."

Among the protesters was Mulet Araro, a 26-year-old student who set out on foot to Jerusalem from his home in Kiryat Malakhi to protest against racism and discrimination.
The demonstrators demanded legislation against racism in all walks of life in Israel, and against racism in schools in particular.