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No place for racism in Israeli military, says chief of staff

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi invited Ethiopian-Israeli officers to share their experiences on the issue of racism in the military.

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi meets with Ethiopian-Israeli officers to discuss both discrimination and opportunities for advancement within the military, July 28, 2019. Credit: Courtesy.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi meets with Ethiopian-Israeli officers to discuss both discrimination and opportunities for advancement within the military, July 28, 2019. Credit: Courtesy.

There is no place for racism in the Israel Defense Forces, and stringent measures must be implemented to that end, said IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi on Sunday.

Kochavi made the remarks during a meeting with 12 career soldiers hailing from Israel’s Ethiopian community, convened after the chief of staff received a letter from Ethiopian-Israeli officers and non-commissioned officers about the prevalence of racism in the army.

Attendees conveyed their personal experiences and feelings on the matter with the chief of staff.

Kochavi said that officers and commanders throughout the military must instill and strengthen the principles of tolerance and acceptance of soldiers of all backgrounds in training and study courses, and via specialized educational programs on the subject.

Earlier this month, mass protests across the country—sparked by the killing of Ethiopian teen Solomon Tekah by an off-duty police officer in Haifa—turned violent.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement expressing sympathy with the Ethiopian-Israeli community and acknowledging that “there are problems that need to be solved.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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