Avraham Neguise, who made aliyah from Ethiopia thirty years ago, was one of 39 new members elected in March to serve in the twentieth Knesset. A member of the Likud party, Neguise is the sixth Ethiopian-Israeli elected to Knesset and the only one to serve in the new term.
According to Al-Monitor:
Negusie, who holds a doctorate in education, built his civic life mostly through political activism, including successful battles he led in the past two decades to bring Falash Mura to Israel. Today, according to Negusie, there are about 5,000 of them in Ethiopia who have families in Israel, and they will celebrate the traditional Seder dinner for Passover far from them in camps in Addis Ababa and Gondar.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, Neguise spoke of his aspirations as a newly-minted lawmaker:
I want to focus on social issues, which are very close to my heart. I want to help bring more equality and reduce social gaps and help new immigrants – not just from Ethiopia, but from the whole world – integrate into society.
I was elected in the Likud primary as the representative of new immigrants; therefore, I want to promote aliya. I believe that Israel can be strengthened as a Jewish and democratic state by bringing Jews from all four corners of the earth. I want to help make life better for new immigrants in areas of housing, employment and health. I want to make sure that laws passed in the Knesset are actually implemented, like the one requiring Ethiopian immigrants to be hired in government offices and government-owned companies.
He also offered a very personal and unique defense of Israel:
I am an answer to those who attack and slander Israel. I grew up in a village in Africa as a shepherd, and moved to Israel, got a higher education with the support of the Israeli government, and reached the Knesset, as a lawmaker. That’s Israel. We help the weak. The slander of Israel is baseless. No country in the world does what Israel does.
[Photo: אברהם נגוסה | Avraham Neguise / YouTube ]