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For Immediate Release:  May 4, 2015

Contact: Jonathan Gilad, Jewish Council for Public Affairs
jgilad@thejcpa.org; 202-212-6031

JCPA Statement on Current Protests in Israel 

Washington – following a weekend marked by protests over inequality by the Israeli-Ethiopian community in Israel, Susan W. Turnbull and Rabbi Steve Gutow, Chair and President respectively of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs issued the following statement: 

The rallies this weekend are a sign of both a wounded and healthy democracy.  We are dismayed to see racial tensions, violence by protestors and police mistreatment in Israel. We also we recognize that organizing rallies, peaceful protests, and civil disobedience play a critical role in the civil discourse of a vibrant liberal democracy.  Israel, like nations around the world, struggles with social tensions, income inequality, and discrimination; we are particularly sympathetic to Damas Pakada, an Israeli soldier.  As Jews, we are taught to take up the plight of the voiceless and downtrodden. We are pleased to see that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli Police are addressing the issue that sparked this latest act of protest. However, this is just a single step toward resolving the underlying concerns of the Ethiopian community in Israel – that of lack of economic opportunity and discrimination.  As the process of forming the next government in Israel continues, we urge all the members of the next Knesset to address these issues with earnestness and compassion. 

JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 17 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.


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