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Israel Has Fallen Into the Condescension Trap With the Ethiopian Community

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How wretched are Israelis of Ethiopian descent, that they must feel grateful to Israel for bringing them out of darkness into the light. Many Israelis are astonished at their magnificent entrance into the modern world since they’ve settled in their new country. There’s hardly a documentary film about them that doesn’t mention that until not long ago, they lived like the subjects of famous anthropologists’ studies. There’s hardly a discussion on TV in which they’re not required to thank Israel for turning them into human beings. After all, who were they before coming to Israel? Africans who lived in the dark Middle Ages, suffering from hunger and diseases, barely understanding what was happening around them and having no horizons save the hopeless horizon of the desert.

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We repeatedly hear complaints about their ingratitude. Instead of thanking the state for redeeming them from their primitive lives, they dare to demonstrate, run wild, smash, destroy, threaten and even set police cars on fire. And worst of all, they permit themselves to block roads and disrupt the routine of thousands of Israelis. For this sin they will not be forgiven. Not for the wild rioting, but for their lack of recognition of the salvation the state has granted them.

>> Read more: No one did anything to defuse the Ethiopian-Israeli 'time bomb' | Analysis ■ Brutality against Ethiopian Israelis has reached a state of emergency | Opinion

Israel is again falling into the trap it stepped into with previous waves of immigrants, most of them from Arab states. While the immigrants attempted to preserve a human image, Israel measured their absorption by one criterion: to what extent they succeed in integrating into society. To what extent they mastered the local language, learned to use modern toilets and not to throw garbage out of the fourth floor window. While they were subjected to one of the worst absorption processes Israel has known, the state was measuring them by........

© Haaretz