Wednesday Jan 18, 201204:21 PM GMT
Israel slammed over growing racism
Wed Jan 18, 2012 4:20PM
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Thousands of Israeli Jews of Ethiopian descent protest in the southern Israeli town of Kiryat Malachi against discrimination on January 10, 2012.
Civil rights groups have condemned Tel Aviv's discriminatory measures against the Arab community and other minority groups, which were described by Israeli President as ''Hitlerism''.


The condemnation came after Israel's Supreme Court upheld a law banning Palestinians who marry Israelis from gaining Israeli citizenship and in response to remarks made by Israeli Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Lander, who said that Ethiopian Jews must thank Tel Aviv for bringing them to Israel.

Lander made the racist remarks after Ethiopian immigrants held large rallies in several southern Israeli cities, protesting against social discrimination.

The protests were sparked after many in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi refused to sell homes to families of Ethiopian descent or accept them as tenants, Ethiopians say problems with finding home is just the tip of the iceberg regarding their plight.

Following their protests, Israeli President Shimon Peres visited a school in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) where the student population includes a large number of Ethiopians and condemned discriminations against Ethiopians, describing it as racism and Hitlerism.

The Israeli president denounced Lander's remarks and said they should thank Ethiopians for moving to Israel. There are currently over 120,000 Ethiopian citizens in Israel.

Civil rights groups have also criticized Tel Aviv for imposing a law denying citizenship to the Palestinians marrying Israelis, saying it is unconstitutional.

The law, which was ratified by Israeli parliament in 2003, will prevent thousands of Palestinians from living with their Israeli spouses, forcing them to leave Israel.

HM/HGH
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