The walls surrounding Jerusalem’s Old City in Israel. Picture: REUTERS
The walls surrounding Jerusalem’s Old City in Israel. Picture: REUTERS

Pointing, as Terry Crawford-Browne does, to problems of racist attitudes towards Ethiopian Jews in Israel as evidence that Israel is indeed an apartheid state, is, to say the least, unconvincing (Ethiopian community in Israel is victimised by racism, July 12).

Such problems, unfortunately, exist in every country where there are black minorities, even in the most progressive societies. The point is that if it were an SA-style apartheid state, Israel would obviously never have gone out of its way to bring out so many black Ethiopian Jews in the first place.

Nor, for that matter, would it have airlifted virtually the entire Jewish community of Yemen to Israel back in the 1950s, nor allowed more than 80% of Indian Jews to immigrate to the country. On account of their pigmentation alone, both groups would have found themselves bundled off to Lenasia had they ever found their way to SA during the apartheid era.

As for the claim that Israel’s only motivation in bringing out Ethiopian Jews is to use them “as cannon fodder for the army and cheap labour”, I doubt whether even Crawford-Browne really believes this. There is no shortage of manpower for Israel’s military, and there are more than enough people outside the country willing to work there as temporary migrant labourers.

David Saks
SA Jewish Board of Deputies