11 June 2012

Black Immigrants in Israel

On May 30, 2012, Auburn Butterfly posted about Kehinde Wiley's project entitled, The World Stage: Israel. This art project explored the stories of black men living in Israel. His artworks feature young men portrayed in a style similar to those of the classical European portraits. Kehinde Wiley sought to explore the strong correlation between being on the margins of society as a person of colour in America, and that which we see in Israel.

This morning, I came across this article on The Economist, which discusses racial tension in Israel. The article reports some incidences of clashes between African immigrants, and native Israelis.

"On May 29th the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said he was adding African “infiltrators” to his list of threats to the Jewish homeland. He said he shared the rioters’ pain and promised to solve the problem by completing a wall along the border with Egypt. He said he would also build the world’s largest detention centre—and deport all those within, starting with the South Sudanese.
Until 2009 the 15,000 or so asylum-seekers entering via Sinai every year were banned from coming within a radius of 30km (19 miles) of Tel Aviv. Since the government revoked that order, the security forces, after catching immigrants crossing, verify their identity and then pack them off to Tel Aviv. Scores of destitute new arrivals bed down every night in a park near the main bus station."
-from The Economist
Having read this article, it is important to consider that some black Jews within Israel could be native Israelis. Not all Black Jews are African immigrants. Also it is important to consider the spread of African immigrants within Israel, as well as the proportion of immigrants to native Israelis. With that in consideration, one can decide how extreme prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu's reaction is.
Check out Kehinde Wiley's project, The World Stage: Israel.
Also check out The Economist article, Israel and its black immigrants.

Thoughts? Comment below.

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