President Katsav: It Might Have Been Better If Ethiopian Jews Had Stayed In Ethiopia

Israel’s President, Moshe Katsav, had this to say about Ethiopian Jews:

Israel may have been wrong to bring
Ethiopian Jews to Israel, President Moshe Katsav said Sunday in an
unusually candid comment. "At times I feel we did an injustice to the Ethiopian
population by bringing them to the country," the president said after
being presented with recommendations for fighting violence within

Katsav’s remarks came after the Ministry of Absorption
released data showing that during 2005 there was a drop of 11 percent
in crimes involving youths of Ethiopian descent and a 10 percent drop
in crime involving youths from the former Soviet Union.

The president also criticized the lack of appropriate care for youths who emigrated from Ethiopia.

President Katsav did not make the same remark about Russian Jews. I cannot say what President Katsav meant. But I can say this – corruption and repeated (and uncorrected) mistakes do not lead to good absorption. And neither does the bigotry so in evidence from both politicians and rabbis.

But, if history is any indication, Israel will not learn this lesson. The corrupt and inept absorption will continue, politicians and rabbis will not stop being racists. The price for this will be paid by Israeli society, which will have, for years to come, black people on its margins – black people who wanted nothing more than to come home after thousands of years of exile. And it will be paid by Ethiopian Jews, who came home to Israel only to discover the color of their skin is more important than their years of sacrifice.

Shame on us all.



Filed under Chabad and Ethiopian Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Israel

28 responses to “President Katsav: It Might Have Been Better If Ethiopian Jews Had Stayed In Ethiopia

  1. Anonymous

    I heard that the ethiopians aren’t really Jewish.

  2. Neo-Conservaguy

    I heard that once, a long time ago, we were told to be kind to the stranger in our land, for we were once strangers too. Must not have been important enough to remember, or something like that.

  3. mibessarekha al titaallam

    we gott’a hand it to him .
    this is true for many other communities .
    the morrocans for example , who invariably did better going to France or Canada .
    and many others .
    one is left to wonder if Pres Katzav would have taken the liberty and daring to reflect aloud in the same manner and same conclusions about the much larger and no less violent raskolnikovean pravoslav aliya ?

  4. mibessarekha al titaallam

    to : anon who heared !
    in any case , they would be so more than you , anytime of the day .

    to : Neo Conservaguy !
    those idiots you are trying to put some sense into, are animals . they are not jews . how did bilaam say ?
    reishit goyeem amalek . that’s what they are !
    how did the prophet yeshayahu put it ?
    Chapter: 40 Verse: 3
    ” The voice of one crying in the wilderness….”
    what can I tell you ? Keep @ it ! good luck !

  5. Yochanan Lavie

    One of the main things that disillusioned me from Orthodoxy is the racism in the frum community. I never heard the word “nigger” or “shvartze” (both) said in anger until I became a BT. Full disclosure: I am not a bleeding heart liberal. I am a libertarian conservative. But I believe in Tzelem Elohim. BTW, how do the Ethiopians know that WE (whites) are Jewish?

  6. shmary (the other one)

    Sad, there is no racism. There is nothing wrong if these blacks are not Jewish, they are all in the image of God. However, do not portray them as Jews, when they themselves know that they are not Jewish.

    It is sad

  7. Dammit – Didn’t Rav Ovadia Yosef rule in the 1970s that Ethiopians Jews were just that – Jews – and eligioble for aliyah under the Law of Return?!?!?!

    Moreover – are some of you telling me that because someone is of African descent or is from sub-Saharan Africa and have dark skin that no matter what they do (aside from formal conversion and even then…)they could never ever possibly be Jewish?!?!?

    Maybe there should a a “Whites Only” sign over the entrance to shuls or better yet, over the Aron Kodesh. It seems this would clearly be a better reflection of reality.

  8. nachos

    Can I please have my foreskin back. I don’t want to belong to this racist club!!

  9. Shep

    sh’chora ani v’nava

    Counting from the back:

    Blacks aren’t really Jewish.

    North Africans were living in tents, they should be thankful to be brought to Yisrael to work for very little money.

    The Yemens look and sound an awful lot like Muslims… except for them there payees.

    Hashem didn’t send the Besht to the Italians!

  10. Neo-Conservaguy

    If you’re going to troll, at least get the insults correct, you pasty white son of a convert. North African Sephardim are usually slandered by calling them cave dwellers; it’s some of the Temani that were tent dwellers. The Temani look like the local Muslims for the same reason you look like Boris Yeltsin, but at least they still speak something close to biblical Hebrew, unlike the pidgin Hebrew/Yiddish from your parts of the world.

  11. mibessarekha al titaallam

    hear , hear ,
    Neo-Conservaguy ,
    yehei shemei rabba mevarakh !

  12. Anonymous

    Actually, I was being facetious, but perhaps I made my point better through misunderstanding.

  13. ben matityah

    oy oy oy
    those lilywhite neshomos ,
    diamonds in the rough true yidden
    white white white , almost aryans
    white almost like the beard of the rebbe .
    and the love of science !!! what a dear authentic yidden , what did we say ? a diamond in the rough :
    19-year-old convicted of murdering his mother for not buying him a PC
    The Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday convicted Yivgeni Selastihin, 19, for murdering his mother for refusing to buy him a computer, as well as other items….
    oooh yea , we need more of those dear yiddens

  14. “Son of a convert”? Is that supposed to be an insult, because I’m a convert.
    Seriously though, I don’t see how racism like this can be condoned by the same people who tell those of us who aren’t Orthodox that we should join the fold because it would be better for us.

  15. Anonymous

    Once the Falash Mura have underfone geirus al pi halacha and prove that they’re continuing to observe the mitzvos, there’s no query about their Jewish status.

    About the Falashas though, because most never underwent geirus, thanks to left wing anti-Torah activist Israeli chilloni subvert filth in the 80s, they still have the status of “sofek yehudim”, in the Ashkenazi world at least ie can’t be counted for a minyan etc, a rachmonus on the poor black sods.

  16. Ethiopian JEW

    You F*king Assholes!! Shame on you for writing these kinds of remarks about us. YOU are nothing but stupid, Charah, flithy, NAZI cowards!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. Adam

    They are Jews. Every rabbinical authority that matters has ruled that they are Jews. This matter should have been settled a long time ago. It’s bad enough that the blasted orthodox rabbis forced these people, who practice a form of Judaism that’s older than what adherents of rabbinical Judaism themselves practice, to go through the farce of the mini-conversion. Ultimately, what the rabbis say is, of course, irrelevant. These people will be finally be accepted as Jews primarily if the community of world Jewery accepts them – and it seems that, except for a small group of people who still live in the shtetl, this has happened.

  18. Azaria

    Who said Jews are whites in the first place?? Didn’t Hitler select the jews in Europe by steriotyping and looking on facial features? Weren’t jews considred to be less than a human because of the color of their eyes, hair and the structure of the nose etc..?
    Why do you do the same thing to us?(Ethiopians and Arabic jews)? Why do you categorize us? Why do you call us names? Even the Temani call us Kushim now a days! (one wonders where they got that from!)
    It’s so sad and such a shame!

  19. Anonymous

    IT might have been better if Chabad and Haredim stayed in Europe or where ever the hell they came from!

  20. Wow,
    How people think is amazing to me. It is funny how the Arabic and Ethiopian Jews even the bloody Lemba tribe in S. africa have more of a genetic marker of the original yehudim from Israel whereas the ones who discriminate the most against these two groups do not. Half cannot even prove they are jewish.
    I think it is said how this issue exist. It is a religion and a people and we should be accepting of each other. There is no way Jews will be unified in this life time for the Moshiach to come if we don’t get it together and not care what skin color each individual has, but of their kevana.. Thanks for the article.. Got to blogroll you

  21. NYC

    Looks Like you guys need an Ethiopian jewish martin luther king

  22. why Lord Elohim why?

    Let’s see who descended out of these four sons of Ham. The Cushites name were changed by the Greeks to “Ethiopia,” which is translated from the word “Athiop” which means “burnt-faced.”
    Mizraim’s name was changed by the Greeks also to Egypt. Egypt means “black.” Present day Egypt have been comprised of mostly Arabs since they conquered the land in the sixth century. This is how the Hamites (African people) became Islam. Most black Muslims refuse to accept this fact. The descendents of Phut are the ancient Libyans. Libya now is also an Arab-dominated land. The Caananites land is the Promised Land given to the Israelites.

    And Cush begat Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one in the earth…And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel.

    Yahweh has given the seed of each of the three sons of Noah, a time to rule. The Hamites ruled first, beginning with the Ethiopians. Nimrod, as stated earlier, was an Ethiopian.

    Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber,…

    (Why was Eber, the great grandson of Shem, singled out here?)

    …the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born.
    The children of Shem;…

    (ALL of the descendents of Shem are called SEMITIC.)

    …Elam, and Asshur, (the father of the Assyrians) and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram…
    …And Arphaxad begat Salah; and Salah begat Eber.
    And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in HIS DAYS WAS THE EARTH DIVIDED; and his brother’s name was Joktan.

    Now we see the significance of Eber. Eber was alive during the scattering of the nations at the Tower of Babel. The name “Eber” means “to pass over” and it is translated to “Hebrew.” Eber is the father of the Hebrews, not Abraham, as many people think. God gave Eber the tongue that was spoken by his descendents, and that is the Hebrew tongue. In Genesis 11 we see that Abraham descended from Eber. Abraham’s seed includes the Ishmaelites, the Midianites, the Edomites, and the Israelites.

    Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat twins Jacob (Israel) and Esau. The birth of the twins were on “this wise.”
    (I always wanted to say that)

    Genesis 25:21-26 And Isaac intreated Yahweh for his wife, because she was barren: and Yahweh was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
    And the children struggled within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of Yahweh.
    And the Lord said unto her, TWO NATIONS are in thy womb, and TWO MANNER OF PEOPLE shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
    And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

    Now remember, Elohim told Rebekah that there were two nations and two manner of people in her womb. We are about to read the first difference between these twins.

    And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
    And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel;…

    Esau looked different from the rest of Isaac’s family. We know this because Jacob’s features were not described. And for him to be the first-born, Esau had to have been a sight for him to have had to be described. At this time, I won’t get into what went on between Jacob and Esau, and their eternal battle, but I will sum it up to present day.

    The Edomites, (descendents of Esau) converted to Judaism in 125 BC by the Maccabees. They eventually formed their own religious sect called the Herodians. The Pharisees (to their own destruction) conspired with the Herodians regularly, to tempt Yahshuah. (Mark 12:13) At that time, the region of Judaea was ruled (thanks to the Romans) by the Herods. When the Romans laid seige to Jerusalem in 67-70 AD, King Herod Agrippa II, and his kinsmen, the Edomites (Idumeans), no longer called themselves by their name. They have been known as the Jews, since. But now that we see that Israel looked totally different from Esau, lets see if we can see who the Israelites looked like. In Exodus we read about the time when Pharaoh commanded that all newborn male Israelites be cast into the river. One Levite (a tribe of Israel) woman bore a son and she hid him as long as she could until she eventually obeyed Pharoah. She put her son in the river, but she put him in an ark first. This child was put in the river among flags so that it wouldn’t move so that Miriam, his sister, could see what would become of him.

    Pharoah’s daughter found him where Miriam put him among the flags and SHE called his name MOSES, and she raised him as her own son. Moses lived as an Egyptian until he killed an Egyptian and fled Egypt. He came to a well in Midian, and defended the daughters of Reuel, the priest of Midian. When Reuel asked his daughters how they happened to water the flock so soon.

    Exodus 2:19 And they said, An EGYPTIAN delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds,…

    Now if Moses was white, or any other color than black, would Reuel’s daughters thought that Moses was an Egyptian?
    Of course not.

    Now after Yahweh instructs Moses concerning his mission to deliver Israel out of Egypt, the Lord give Moses powerful signs whereby he would cause the Israelites to believe that Yahweh sent him. One of the two signs was featured in the movie “The Ten Commandments.” The greater of the two signs was not.

    Exodus 4:2-3,6-8 And Yahweh said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, a rod.
    And he said, Cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent…

    (This sign was in the movie(s), the next sign was not)

    …And Yahweh said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thine bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold his hand was leprous as snow.

    Now why didn’t Charlton Heston perform THIS sign?

    And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again…
    …and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.

    So neither Jacob, nor Joseph, nor Moses, looked “red” like the Jewish (Edomites) people, or white like the Gentiles, they were all black like the Egyptians.

    Moses sister, Miriam, spoke out against Moses because he had married an ETHIOPIAN woman. This is what Yahweh did to Miriam.

    Numbers 12:10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow…

    Now if Miriam was white or “red,” why did he turn her white. Why not turn her the same color as the Ethiopian woman since she made herself to be better than her. Miriam was ALREADY the same color of the Ethiopian woman, so he turned her white instead. Leviticus 13, mentions two kinds of leprosy, clean and unclean. Leprosy, is a skin disease, and the unclean leprosy is when blotches appear on the skin. Clean leprosy is when your skin turns white. On this note, I have to ask the Mormons, how in the world can Israelites, like the so-called Lamanites could have been cursed with dark skin when the only skin color curse that any Israelites experienced according to the Bible, was the turning of their skin white? Joseph Smith had a WILD imagination!

    In Matthew 2, Joseph, Miriam, and Yahshua, fled from Herod, the Edomite king of Judaea and hid in Egypt among other black people, just as Moses “hid” from death in Egypt. Even the apostle Paul was mistaken for an Egyptian. An Israelite have never been mistaken for any other nationality that wasn’t black.

    Acts 21:37-39 And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek?
    ART NOT THOU THAT EGYPTIAN, which before…
    …But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew…

    When the evil and diabolical Hitler had the “jewish” people in the concentration camps, many of them were in a famine. Their skin was a pale white. When the Babylonians laid seige against Israel, the Israelites were also in a famine. This is how the prophet Jeremiah described it.

    Lamentations 5:9-10 We gat our bread with the peril of our lives because of the sword of the wilderness.

    When brown or black people get sick, or don’t eat for a long time, they get darker. When white or “red” people get sick or don’t eat… they get pale.

    This historical chronology, as well as the entire Topic was not meant to offend anyone and I’m sorry if it does. only purpose was to help shed light on a subject that has shamefuly been a subject of debate in these modern times Israel.

    like we forgot when Elohim told the profet Jeremiah that the kingdom of Judah were being punished for taking fellow jews as slaves.
    well may be not in the right term of the word but history repeats itself once again,

  23. NYC

    This is the most pettiest thing I have ever heard..
    “When brown or black people get sick, or don’t eat for a long time, they get darker. When white or “red” people get sick or don’t eat… they get pale.
    –What??? You think Ethiopians got dark because they starved? I am a man of Ethiopian origin, and I never got darker during sunlight or hunger.
    As for the ethiopians, there are many Ethiopians, both jews and christians who believe that they are Israelite tribes. And Yes, there is evidence to all that. There are many ethiopians that are very light, but not necessarily Semites or sons of Ham or whatever.

  24. NYC

    This is the most pettiest thing I have ever heard..
    “When brown or black people get sick, or don’t eat for a long time, they get darker. When white or “red” people get sick or don’t eat… they get pale.
    –What??? You think Ethiopians got dark because they starved? I am a man of Ethiopian origin, and I never got darker during sunlight or hunger.
    As for the ethiopians, there are many Ethiopians, both jews and christians who believe that they are Israelite tribes. And Yes, there is evidence to all that. There are many ethiopians that are very light, but not necessarily Semites or sons of Ham or whatever.

  25. the very jew is very black why u ppl denied this true story….wake up ethiopians are son of Abrham.

  26. mathmatics

    i am just sincerely curious:

    are the people in israel the ancient israelites? definetly no or yes?

    were these same people in israel prior to 1948?

    if no, then where were they?

    if israel was unoccupied prior to 1948 , who are “sephardic jews” , were they in the area ( israel) but
    just scattered?

    was there a mass exodus of a homogenougs people with the same customs and physical features, and only this group can lay claim to israel?

    are sephardic jews semitic, if yes then how is it ” anti semetic” only applies to a certain group of people ?


    I’m an African American who for a number of years attended school with Jewish youths of European descent.
    I was accepted (for the most part by them) as one of their
    peers. I was invited to most of their functions, birthday parties, social events, even Barmizvahs. I even had jewish girls who wanted to date me. My problem was their parents, who looked at me,an treated me as if I was inferior to them, especially when they saw that their offspring were taking an interest in me(if you know what I mean). From that point on, I was curious as to why I was being treated so different.

    I, being born of a third generation of African descent of this small community in Binghamton, New York, where
    the Minority population was about 1.5 per cent and according to the census had one of the highest interracial
    birthrates, if not the highest per capita in the country.

    I, for the life of me could not understand why, after moving to upstate New York, that the the relations would be so different toward people of color. Out of
    curiosity and dismay I decided to look into why my skin
    color made such a difference since I was raised by
    my mother, who was of (African-Indian American)descent, and who didn’t have one ounce of predjudice in her,nor did she inject racial bias in any of the siblings.

    My first effort was to look into the history of the jewish
    people, I don’t like the term race,because, based on my knowledge, their are only five human species, race was something that was conjured up by the indo-europeans to
    subject themselves to Superiority and others to inferiority, whatever! Point being I know how Beta Israel feels to be isolated in their ancestors homeland and not being fully accepted.

    Having studied in Ethiopia I was told by my mentor Yosef ben Jochannan, that prior to 1675 BC,there were no so called semites in the books of Genesis or Exodus in the Hebrew Bible. I spent every waking hour in Ethiopia, trying to find out all I could about the Hebrews
    of Gondar. They are the direct descendants of King Solomon & Queen Makeda of Ethiopia, whose son Menelik left with the Ark of the Covenant, after taking it without receiving the blessings of his father, King Solomon, who had a Dream that the Ark must go to Ethiopia, because they were doing right in the name of Yahweh, even though they had no statues or laws. Once
    the priests found out and Menelik defiled the Sabbath,they headed for the Mountains, leaving Menelik
    to his own design. By violating the Sabbath they were reduced to Christians and so it was and that’s how it shall be. I took my mother’s remains there and placed them up in the mountains of Ethiopia over looking Menlik’s Palace. This was her request, as result of this, the Ethiopians said that I was a Lion of Judah, having done this. They gave me the Book of Angels, made of wood bindings and the pages made of camel skin, also I received the Book Stand & Scepter indicating that me and my family are blessed stating, that I’m one of the 144,000. I was allowed to sit on the Gold Throne of Haile Selassie with his euthanized lions skins behind it
    solidifying my status as a Lion of Judah. This was my reward for my efforts seeking out the truth. Just like Joseph, out of misfortune came Blessing. So Beta Israel
    keep the faith you shall overcome you have YAHWEH’s Blessing.

    I have been to Ethiopia, as stated earlier in my search for truth, because of my rejection, by the Elders of so called Israel, right here in New York, while in my youth.
    My studies led me to the State University of New York at Binghamton/Cornell, after reading everything I could about the first Hebrews, then the Jews, who were acually two distinct groups, Judah/Israel, Sephardic and Askenazi,the former from East & North Africa, Spain, and the Middle East, the latter from Eastern Europe-Russia, Poland, Caucas mountains, Caspian Sea, etc.

    This I do know, I have followed the History of Judaism since 1973, including Operation Solomon & Operation
    Moses in 1990 Airlift of the Ethiopian Hebrews out of Gondar because of so called persecution by the Derge during their occupation of Ethiopia after the demise of
    His Royal Majesty. I also know that once in Israel they
    the Falasha’s in order to become jews, had to accept the
    teachings of the Talmud (man made teachings) that are not a part of their Torah, the five books of Moses.

    My studies are in depth although I have never been a convert, because deep in my Heart & Soul I feel that I am Hebrew by Nature. My Ancestors were and have been wandering in the wilderness for the past 400 Years
    under the yoke of slavery. I feel as though I have, like Moses spent the past 40 years as Priest in the Mystery System and one day lead my people out of Babylon back to Ethiopia, where the arms of the 144,000 Lions of Judah will be stretched out to YAHWEH,our God, while the Mighty Lion Roars, leaving the Canaanites
    fighting among themselves, and the Hebrew Nation will
    find peace within themselves for once among their people once again as it was in the beginning, and now and forever shall be, In the name of YAHWEH Amen.

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