Our first stop was a meeting with students of Ethiopian origin. After a short introduction we started having a conversation with two young women from Ethiopia who were studying in Israel. Their stories were extremely touching. They told us about their experience coming to Israel and how they were treated by the local residents. In their home countries they felt safe and there was a feeling of belonging but coming to Israel they experienced how it feels to be unwelcome and unwanted. The worst part of this discrimination is that it is not spoken out loud, like for e.g. with the Arabs, but everything happens on an interpersonal level. They said that racism that wasn’t spoken about loud and clear was worse because they couldn’t say or do anything about it.
We were also glad to hear that now, after few years in Israel they felt more comfortable, they barely face racism and discrimination, they are successful in life, university etc.
One of the girls told us that she used to be a runner and that it was really liberating because on the track people saw and treated her based on her actions, her skills and her performance and not the color of her skin or how she spoke.
We were shocked when another girl told us how she wanted to take a part in graduation ceremony because she really liked to be on the stage. But her teacher told her that he doesn’t think she fit the part and that the other girls were better. At the end she got the part because nobody wanted it. After seeing her performance everyone told her that they didn’t know she can read that well.
We think that this is very not fair that they disqualified her before they heard her.
Was it because of the color of her skin?