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Monday, January 21, 2013

Seeking Home

Israeli soldier of Ethiopian descent

 Immigrants. Refugees. Job Hunters. Asylum Seekers. These terms are a few that describe those who seek a new place to call home. A number of very divergent groups of people of African descent have chosen to emigrate to Israel from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, and have received support from a variety of groups in the United States of America.  As with all stories of dislocation and relocation, there is poignancy, sadness, hope, unrealized expectations. The video below tells some of those stories.
It is important to understand the difference between those people of African descent who consider themselves Jews either by birth or conversion (Ethiopians and Black Jews from the US) and are accepted (more or less) as such in Israel, and those who have left Africa seeking asylum or jobs (Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea). While many in the latter group may wish covert, that was not their initial reason coming to Israel, and the obstacles to doing so are many. The number of non-Jewish people of African descent moving to Israel in the last few years has escalated with the increase of trouble in North and East Africa. This has resulted in a backlash movement in Israel to send them back.

Sudanese refugees being sent out of Israel
Addisu Messele

Israel's Black Hebrews
There are several interesting articles and blogs to explore written around the topic of Blacks in Israel, written from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Exploring any of the links in this blog post will take you into the worlds of many interesting people. One such interesting person is Addisu Messele, the first person of sub-Saharan African ancestry elected to the Israeli Parliament.

And finally, from the serious at the top of this page, to the joyous at the bottom, people seek meaning in their lives down many different roads: all leading to home.

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