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Avraham Neguise

(1958 - )

Avraham Neguise is an Israeli politician and activist for the Falash Mura minority community.

Born in Ethiopia, where he worked as a shepherd, Neguise immigrated to Israel in 1985. He gained a BA and MA in social work at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an LLB from Sha'arei Mishpat College, an MA in initiatives and renewal from the Swinburne University of Technology and a PhD in education from the University of Sussex.

Neguise founded and served as director-general of South Wing to Zion, an organisation representing Ethiopian immigrants, and is known for his role in leading the struggle to bring the rest of Ethiopian Jewry to Israel. In 2007, Neguise protested the end of Israel's programs in Ethiopia to support aliyah. He said that that the remaining community of Ethiopian Jews had established a synagogue, that the reports he received on the community were distressing, and that the Falash Mura remaining in Addis Ababa should be allowed to immigrate to Israel as well.

He established the Atid Ehad (One Future) party, which contested the 2006 Knesset elections, but received only 0.4% of the vote and failed to win a seat. He subsequently joined the Jewish Home, and was placed eighth on its list for the 2009 elections. However, the party won only three seats and he did not become a Knesset member.

Prior to the 2013 elections he joined Likud, and was placed 48th on the joint Likud Yisrael Beiteinu list, again failing to win a seat when the alliance won only 31 seats. Prior to the 2015 Knesset elections he was placed 27th on the Likud list. He was elected to the Knesset as Likud won 30 seats. Neguise became the only Israeli of Ethiopian origin to be elected to the 20th Knesset.

As a Member of the Knesset, he expects to focus on social issues. Those include helping new immigrants integrate into Israeli society, providing support and education for youth in underprivileged neighborhoods and, he notes, "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." Neguise expressed confidence that the diversity of the incoming Knesset with be a positive development: "We have representatives of women, new immigrants and Arabs, and I think we can all work together in the Knesset." He has appealed to the Knesset not to wait until a coalition is formed to bring all Ethiopians Jews to Israel.

In April 2015 Neguise came to the defense of an Ethiopian born soldier with the Israel Defense Forces who was beaten by a policeman in what was widely viewed as a racist attack, an attack caught on video. The soldier, Damas Pakedeh, was arrested and then released, after being accused of attacking the policeman. Pakada is an orphan who emigrated from Ethiopia with his siblings in 2008. He believes the incident was racially motivated and that if the video had not been taken, he would have been punished. Instead, the police officer and volunteer were suspended pending an investigation. Neguise called on National Police Chief Yohanan Danino to prosecute the police officer and volunteer, saying they engaged in "a gross violation of the basic law of respecting others and their liberty by those who are supposed to protect us."

Neguise is married with two children, and lives in the Pisgat Ze'ev settlement in East Jerusalem.

Source: Wikipedia