Supreme Court Justice Zvi Zilbertal on Sunday urged the Jerusalem Municipality and a group of Ethiopian protesters to reach an agreement regarding the voluntary evacuation of a protest tent before the beginning of Israeli Memorial Day on Tuesday April 24.
Representatives of the Ethiopian protesters rejected Zilbertal’s recommendation, saying that the intervention by the Supreme Court in effect enables further inaction on the part of the government.
Last week the Jerusalem District Court gave protesters six days to evacuate the tent site, which is adjacent to the prime minister’s residence. The decision was appealed to the Supreme Court the following day.
The tent was erected in mid-February to protest a string of discriminatory events against Ethiopian Israelis. On January 25 hundreds of Israelis, including many non-Ethiopians staged a demonstration in Tel Aviv calling for an end to racism against the Ethiopian community in Israel.
MK Shlomo Molla (Kadima), himself an immigrant from Ethiopia, said Sunday that there is no difference between a tent demanding equality for Ethiopian immigrants and the tent set up to press for the release of Gilad Shalit. Authorities allowed the Shalit tent to stand for four years until his release from captivity in October 2011.
At a demonstration in front of the Supreme Court on Sunday, Shalit’s father, Labor party member Noam Shalit, joined the protesters in demanding that the tent be allowed to remain. Shalit said that the problems faced by the Ethiopian community in Israel “cannot be swept under the rug.”