January 20, 2009

For Israel’s Ethiopian community, Obama’s political success stands as an inspiration that equality and justice for all can be a reality, and not just a slogan.An open letter to President Obama Shalom, on his inauguration as President of the United States.

President Obama Shalom,

Tebeka (“advocate for justice” in Amharic) and the Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews are two Israeli non-profit organizations working towards the advancement and full integration of the Ethiopian-Israeli community into Israeli society.

We congratulate you on your election as President of the United States and upcoming inauguration. In our eyes, your election to the most powerful office in the world stands as a symbol to humanity that Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision – judging a person by the content of their character and not the color of their skin – is closer to being attained.

With your rise to the presidency, the eyes of the world are watching your every move. While many will judge your presidency by your political successes and failures, there are still others who will unfortunately not be able to see past the color of one’s skin.

We know that we still have a long way to go. Ethiopian Jews may have returned to their Jewish homeland, but their integration into Israeli society is far from complete. Cultural and language barriers together with stereotypes and racial bias serve as obstacles to full integration. At the same time, the Ethiopian-Israeli community has made great strides towards equality.

As advocates for bringing equality and justice to Israel’s Ethiopian community, we are inspired by your election.

Your shattering of the glass ceiling and political success empowers and serves as an inspiration to all of us working tirelessly to achieve our mission that one day the Ethiopian-Israeli community will break through the racial barriers that still stand before it today, making “equality and justice for all” a reality and not just a slogan.

We wish you the best of luck in your presidency.

With deep respect and admiration.

Itzik Dessie

Executive director


Danny Admasu

Executive Director




Israel Association for Ethiopian Jews

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