Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's greetings on the occasion of the Sigd holiday:
"Honored kesim, spiritual leaders and public figures, dear members of the Ethiopian community.
I greet all of you on the occasion of Sigd which you are now celebrating.
According to ancient tradition, this is holiday is doubly significant: Private and public introspection, and strengthening unity among the community.
The State of Israel recognizes Sigd as an official holiday. In recent years, I have learned about the leaders and traditions of your magnificent community, and I have studied about your cultural and religious wealth. I think that the time has come for the entire Israeli public to recognize the beauty and uniqueness of the Ethiopian community. No less important than this is to assist you in your long journey to integrate into Israeli society.
And indeed, in recent years there has been great progress, because members of the community have – by their actions – proven their contributions to Israeli society and to the state: In the IDF, the economy, culture, science, academia and in other aspects of life.
We, as public leaders, need to continue to strengthen and deepen this trend.
I want to tell you that when I was at the memorial ceremony on Mt. Herzl for those who perished en route to the Land of Israel, I was so moved. There was not a dry eye there after hearing the stories of the tragedies, the sacrifice, the suffering and the spiritual elevation in reaching the Land of Israel.
I know that if there are people, whole communities among our people, that understand the yearning for Zion and who were prepared to go on the road to Zion, entailing the most awful hardships – these are the members of the Ethiopian community.
Therefore, it is important to me that all children in Israel know this, that they are familiar with the heritage, the sacrifice and the contribution. I want our state to be completely open, not only in terms of partnership and equal opportunities – this is clear, but also in recognizing the greatness of the contribution and the heart among our brothers in the Ethiopian community. I take you to my heart and bless you on this holiday, your holiday, which is also our holiday."
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