Amir Lavon

Amir lavon

Location: Israel

street photographer and a teacher .
works on long time projects .
Social activist and an educator .
Art curator and a photo story writer .


It's a long way home - the dream was created

It's a long way home
The dream was created

"I will start from Ethiopia in the section of amputation," from a certain age when you expect and imagine and dream and your hopes is to be like, and your dream is embroidered according to the knowledge you have from the environment from the day you were born. And one day they came and uprooted us and the dream faded away.
In the State of Israel, the dream faded because of everything that happened to it and to the community in the Land of Israel: a crusade, the "sign of Cain" Negroes, evil and racism, type D, diseases, dreamers and not dreamers.
In Israel, after all the beatings in Sudan, the community encounters Egyptian blows. Lots of difficulties that is not so dependent on them. They use the concept of the Bible again, imagining his stay in Sudan and immigrating to Israel, like the Israelites who came from Egypt, there are many similar motifs: their grandfathers who died and did not get to Israel, the entire period of waiting in the desert, but what is different is that the Israelites arrived in Israel And the Ethiopian immigrants received Egyptian blows in the country, not enough of what they went through, instead of the collectors taking responsibility for all the injustice that was done to them, and taking care of them, they also receive constant beatings ... Suddenly the color of the skin turns into a sign of Cain, In racism, they are called Type D, bringing illnesses, and this memory turns into a memory as a bad dream, and this dream became a bad dream Runner that affected them personally.

In addition, Israeli society has undergone changes in the absorption approach of the type that has recently characterized other companies that absorb many immigrants: the transition from absorption policy of a melting pot to a multicultural absorption policy. According to the melting pot approach, the immigrants are supposed to shed the culture and tradition that were prevalent in their country of origin (Lisitza and Peres, 2000).

Within this range of changes is the absorption of Ethiopian Jews in the unique problem it poses. Due to cultural differences, low skills and poor human capital, the group of immigrants from Ethiopia is perceived as unique, and special frameworks were needed to facilitate their adaptation (Brandes, 1996; Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, 1998). However, this intervention, ostensibly in the spirit of the old melting pot approach, was perceived as insufficiently sensitive to the feelings and identity of the immigrants, instilling feelings of alienation and lead to a civilian protest (Kimmerling, 1998).

The participants in the project reported significant difficulties in adaptation (see Aizikovitch and Baak, 1991) with immigration to Israel: cultural shock (characterized by helplessness, confusion, misunderstanding and inability to control what is happening), the language that stands as a barrier between the immigrant and society, Israeli society and obvious difficulties suffered by graduates of the community. Studies show that in the transition from one culture to another, migrants are required to undergo culture acquisition or enculturation. In this process, the immigrant acquires new skills, learns to carry out new roles, and constructs himself a self-image and status, while acquiring a set of values and appropriate norms (Davidovich, 1999; Mirsky, 1992, Lissitza and Peres, 2000; Shamai, 2000), il).

Various researchers (Harel, 1994, Dreznon and Scheringman, 1999; Solodkinah, 1995; Kirmeyer and Perlmutter, 2001; Rotenberg and Tobin, 1995; Shamai, 2000) note two processes of adjustment, which take place in migration: de-socialization Values and norms of its past status; Re-socialization - the immigrant acquires new status and values. As these processes occur, the immigrant may feel confused and discouraged because he can no longer use the rules and norms of the origin society and has not yet acquired the norms of the new society. The difficulty in developing the social and cultural codes of the new environment and the irrelevance of the old systems make the immigrant feel helpless, useless, and lacking in self-esteem.

Among Ethiopian immigrants, the social changes are extremely extreme - many families have been torn apart; some have immigrated to Israel and some have remained in Ethiopia. In addition, the changes in previous roles and status are total: occupations from which the immigrants made a living (agriculture and crafts) and the tools of survival they developed in their country of origin all became useless and unsuitable in Israel. A significant finding in this context is what M. said in an interview with him: "In Ethiopia I could be a teacher and a guide ... Now all I knew was not worth: identity, food, clothing, speech ... like a baby, blind, deaf, mute".

Traditional and orly, and largely closed to external changes. Immigration to Israel caused a sharp cultural change among the Ethiopian immigrants and was accompanied by a crisis of absorption in all areas of life: extreme transition from traditional to modern society. Existing conventions have been broken and have undermined cultural, familial, economic, religious and social norms and values that Ethiopian Jews have been accustomed to for many generations. On the other hand, they had to adopt new values and norms. They are confused and disoriented because of their encounter with the different world (Kaniel, 1990, Barber, 2001, Romi and Tal-Bar-Lev, 2001).
It turned out that the pace of life of Israeli society was too fast and confusing for the immigrants from Ethiopia. Ben-Ezer's study (in Kaniel, 1988) explains that the concept of time among Ethiopians is circular and cyclical and different from the rhythmic time of Western culture. The absence of circular time causes disorientation and impaired functioning among immigrants.

The visual-human study is intended to document and try to characterize the stages of adaptation at the psychological level in a photographic and somewhat different way: the idealization stage that began in Ethiopia, and with disappointment, the immigration to Israel. It also turns out that some of the immigrants from Ethiopia are fixed at the stage of depression for a long time, unable to move on to the next stage of adjustment, and even worse: some go to suicide. It is worth emphasizing the existence of the greatest difficulties among the graduates of the community. Research shows that in Ethiopia there was a clear division of labor within the family, with the perception of the family as a supreme value. With the immigration to Israel the parents' authority weakened and the traditional family structure was broken, due to a reversal of roles between the two Parents and children, and the absorption of Ethiopian youth in boarding schools (Kimmerling, 1998).
Studies indicate that each immigrant has his own adaptation formula. The circumstances of immigration and the personal baggage of the immigrant will determine whether migration will be an act of growth and development or vice versa.

Other studies among young Ethiopians also note that the negative connotations of skin color and the constant threat to self-esteem have become a challenge among Ethiopian immigrants and prompted them to prove their abilities (Shabtay, 2000). It was interesting to examine this issue even among adults who are not educated.
It was found that the cultural shock among immigrants from Ethiopia is great due to the cultural gaps.

The consideration of the absorption of immigrants from Ethiopia is clear: because of cultural differences, low skills and poor human capital, absorption in this way was designed to facilitate their adaptation (Brandes, 1996; Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, 1998; However, the criticism was criticized: the bureaucratic absorption of immigrants suited the needs of the Israeli system and eventually expressed segregation rather than integration. The treatment of immigrants from Ethiopia as a needy population and their concentration in absorption centers cut them off from their daily tasks, delayed their integration and made them passive and dependent on absorption institutions and their people; As a result, their employment opportunities were also affected. The absorption centers became permanent residences and became 'ghettos', and the ulpanim and the kibbutzim were the refuge for going out to work. When an immigrant is incapable of carrying out his normal duties and being the master of his life, his honor is also taken away (Peretz, 1995; Kimmerling, 1998).

The photographic project places great importance on examining the nature of the encounter between immigrants from Ethiopia and Israeli society as an integral part of the absorption process. Studies emphasize that the absorption process is influenced by different directions - acculturation of the immigrant, his desire to be absorbed into the new society, and his willingness to accept it within it (Shammai, 1999, Lisitza and Peres, 2000). Successful absorption takes place when the immigrant identifies with his new environment and manages to maintain full integration with it (Davidovich, 1999). When the absorption activities do not take into account the cultural uniqueness of the immigrants, they will be absorbed into surrender and renunciation of their identity, their worth diminishes and their sense of humiliation increases (Dotan, 1990).

It turns out from the photographs that the awareness of the color-skinned language came up with the initial encounter of the immigrants from Ethiopia with Israeli society. "The most difficult experience is to see that you are different ... All of them are white and I am black ... coming from Ethiopia ... even after 40 years ... the color did not go down in the laundry." R.: "A new immigrant from Ethiopia is tagged ... He has a label, that he will have a hard time separating from her."
Other studies on the immigration of Ethiopian Jews also found a significant sense of difference among the immigrants against the background of their appearance.

Some of the immigrants have a divided cultural identity, as can be seen from the findings of our interviews and photographs. Various studies explain the reasons for the split identity: The first argument is that there is no model of 'Israeliness' that can be identified and identified with it (Peretz, 1995). The second reason is that they are a minority group. The identity problems of minority groups are a source of emotional difficulties at the psychological level: low self-esteem, feelings of alienation and marginalization or a sense of identity confusion (Ben Shalom and Horenchik, 2000). As a result, the immigrants acquired a number of identities that reduced their sense of alienation (Barber, 2001).

The seclusion and suspicion of members of the Ethiopian community are part of the community's culture, according to our findings. Peretz (1995) explains the seclusion of members of the community as a solidarity created by coping with the question of identification. Kaplan (1997) explains this solidarity as a response to invasive intervention in community life. Shabtai (1995) notes that in the context of cultural gaps, the immigrant's ethnic community becomes its main source of support. Although the ethnic enclaves are perceived by the absorbing society as a "cultural ghetto" that perpetuates the status of foreigners, they serve as transitory transitional frameworks that support the absorption process in the new society. In the case of Ethiopian immigrants, this seclusion is forced because they realize that despite their desire to undergo acculturation, they remain identified as a separate ethnic-racial group.

Prejudice and stereotypes were another characteristic of the encounter with Israeli society. Although Israel is made up of an immigrant society, xenophobia exists in it and is directed mainly at Ethiopian immigrants. Their uniqueness is the color of their skin, their culture and their social structure, a uniqueness that pushed them to the margins of Israeli society and turned them into targets for negative attitudes. Paradoxically, racism is also expressed in the perception that this special group should be treated with blessings, because of the quiet and gentleness that characterize their behavior, and that they must be careful against their rejection of the black works (Seeman, 1997).

The participants who were interviewed and photographed in the study placed full responsibility on the establishment for the processes of exclusion that they experienced, against the background of the creation of the social selection process. For example, they were housed in absorption centers and integrated into ulpanim without formal education, even though they themselves were educated young people. Young people under the age of 18 were sent to boarding schools as part of special enrichment programs, where the students and the hostel were separated from professional programs. There were those who defined his integration in the boarding school as a kidnapping. The rest treated this process as a positive event in their absorption, because of their separation from their families and because of the obstruction from a professional and social point of view. The process of desecration they experienced was defined by the study participants as "mistakes of the 1950s, which repeat themselves." Cohen (2001) notes that in previous years the education system created an ethnic route by turning eastern students into professional tracks, which blocked the possibility of acquiring a matriculation certificate, which constitutes an entrance ticket to academic education. Most of the immigrant students from Ethiopia did not eventually integrate into higher education.

Gang member “Gang member”

"When the government rejects you, you connect to the street forces and reject it back".

The expulsion “The expulsion”

The court banned the state from deporting 14 children to foreign workers
The judge overturned the decision of the appeals court in Jerusalem and ordered the state to consider giving children status, as was done in previous cases. The decision concerns the future of 35 people - 14 children and 21 of their families.

color matters “color matters”

In the United States, as in many parts of the world, people are discriminated against based on gradations of skin color.
Slava from Russia and Johnny from Africa know very well the meaning of color and therefore are good friends and know how to fight their way precisely because of the unnatural connection between them.

Graffiti “Graffiti”

Graffiti in the slums

Rules of the game “Rules of the game”

"In life and on the street the law is simply to live or die".

ghetto “ghetto”

Givat Hamore neighborhood Afula 2018

The blind “The blind”

The African blind from Independence Street stands every day in the square waiting for the compassion that may come from someone.

Prisoner of Life “Prisoner of Life”

"Being dark and African in a poor ghetto neighborhood means being a prisoner of life".

The curtain vendor “The curtain vendor”

An African boy sells white curtains in a shop selling household furniture.

My life my rules “My life my rules”

"At first they tell you to study, then to serve in the army, then to study again and in the end they reject you because of the color so I decided that my life and I will live them according to my rules".

Street “Street”

Johnny and Slava on Independence Street.

Hands of testimony “Hands of testimony”

"My hands are the best testimony to the long journey of my life. Alongside all the obstacles I have been through, I am still here".

Independence Square “Independence Square”

An African worker fasting for a long day of work watching the passers-by in Independence Square.

Twins “Twins”

Ethiopian twins agreed after endless explanations and endless suspicion to be photographed for the project and the future book, in general suspicion is a classic feature among the population towards the Israeli government.

Hood “Hood”

"Or they do not see, do not know or do not want to see what happens in our neighborhoods.
They see and show only what is happening in their neighborhoods, but they do not want to come here, as if we did not exist".

A wall of roses “A wall of roses”

In the slums, huge gas balloons have been found that have not been tested for decades, behind a wall of roses that is supposed to prevent them from being exposed to the public, like the attitude of the black population here.

station “station”

The concept of a station is a well-known concept among the slums and there is no need to explain its meaning, and if you do not know its meaning, you have never visited such a neighborhood.

Our ghetto “Our ghetto”

As soon as I took the last frame of the day in the ghetto with a last light, a small bird passed through the center of the frame, maybe it was symbolic and said something.

The journey “The journey”

"Our journey is a living and bleeding testimony to the way we did in the desert to the Holy Land, which despite its name rejected us and caused us so much suffering".

Hands of rights “Hands of rights”

The strike of Ethiopian sanitation workers who have not received a salary for 8 months.

Last station “Last station”

The old station is a haven for marginal populations, drugs and prostitution, and what happens there under cover of darkness remains there forever.

street studio “street studio”

An African boy is photographed at a street studio on Independence Street on Good Things Day.

Black hands “Black hands”

The black hands are testimony that began with the period of slavery in the United States and connects to the right with the worst absorption to say the least of the Ethiopians in Israel, it is not the same story but all the symptoms are the same.

smoke city “smoke city”

That you are in a foreign country and fall into a pit of drinking and smoking and there is no one to save you. All you have left is to smoke yourself to death and wait, just wait.

Not today not now “Not today not now”

"Not today not now" is the answer we received every time we came to demand our money, which is legally due to us as the sanitation workers of the Authority.

Hope “Hope”

An African salesman in a white fashion store. "After you have exhausted all the wars, one can only hope.

The elders of Ethiopia “The elders of Ethiopia”

"It's more convenient for them to see
us begging, "he explains," or MaximMoom
cleaning streets. Most passengers do not say
Nothing to me, but only by their look at me i
  Can understand what goes on in their heads. "
He has lived this situation since he remembers himself.
Fact: When he talked about it, it was possible to believe
One passenger whispers, "Why do we give those people our work?
why do we give those Stinking people to work in public places?
She immediately responded by saying, "Yes, just so that we will not have the smell their
Clothes ",