The Israeli government is examining a proposal to establish a town expressly for immigrants from Ethiopia. If the idea is approved, it could come under criticism as a supposed attempt to separate that immigrant community from the rest of the country’s populace.

The proposal is the brainchild of Deputy Public Security Minister Gadi Yevarkan, himself a member of the Ethiopian-Israeli community, who recently met with Construction and Housing Minister Yaakov Litzman. The two agreed on a series of actions to be taken to improve the lot of Ethiopian Israelis.

Yevarkan presented an overview of the community’s housing needs, and also suggested ideas to promote employment initiatives in the community.

The two sides agreed that Yevarkan would compile housing plans that would be submitted to the Construction and Housing Ministry for evaluation by its professional staff. It appears that such a plan might be given a green light and approved for central Israel.

Yevarkan told Israel Hayom, “I’m excited, this is great news. The significance of establishing a town for the ‘Beta Israel’ [communities from Ethiopia] is the fulfillment of the dream of our forefathers, going back generations, to build a home in the ancestral land they dreamed of. A dedicated town for Ethiopian immigrants in Israel will be founded 40 years too late, but it’s good that it will be founded. This is a small step for the state, but a giant step for the community. I am enormously privileged to be part of this pioneering project.”

Yevarkan expressed his thanks to Litzman for cooperating with his vision.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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