Ultra-Orthodox man hurls racial epithets at Ethiopian MK

Shimon Solomon, of the Yesh Atid party, says he was called a ‘slave’ and told to ‘go back to Africa’

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Knesset Member Shimon Solomon from the Yesh Atid party, February 3, 2013 (photo credit: Flash90)
Knesset Member Shimon Solomon from the Yesh Atid party, February 3, 2013 (photo credit: Flash90)

A group of ultra-Orthodox men yelled racist slurs and otherwise verbally assaulted Yesh Atid MK Shimon Solomon, claiming his party’s policies deliberately targeted ultra-Orthodox Israelis.

Solomon, who emigrated from Ethiopia to Israel some 33 years ago, claimed he would have been subjected to physical violence had he not decided to leave the scene rather than engage with the demonstrators.

“On my way home from the Knesset, a number of ultra-Orthodox civilians identified me, and immediately began cursing and provoking me,” Solomon wrote in a Facebook post.

“I tried to explain politely that they have a different, misguided opinion, and that we do not act against the ultra-Orthodox,” he said. “But they were motivated by hatred; they did not try to listen. I left because I saw no point in going on; it was like talking to a wall. If I had stayed, I have no doubt that they would have directed physical violence towards me.”

The Yesh Atid party member went on to state that he had been particularly disturbed by the comments made by one man, who made racist comments and called on him to “go back to Africa.”

“In all the commotion, one ultra-Orthodox man, an observant Jew, was noticeably upset, violent and very aggressive,” Solomon said.

The man, he said, called him a “slave” and a “kushi,” a racist Hebrew slur for black people.

“As a member of a religious observant community, I tried to understand — from what book, chapter or verse did they draw this hatred and violence?” Solomon continued.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed