Israel has been rocked for the last week by protests over the shooting death of 19-year-old Solomon Tekah, an Ethiopian Israeli teenager, who was shot in the Haifa suburb of Kiryat Haim on Sunday by an off-duty police officer. The officer told Internal Affairs that the shooting was an act of self-defense claiming that the suspect was hurling stones at him and his family.
The protests turned violent on Tuesday evening after the funeral of Tekah. Police reported that in the first day of protests in the aftermath of the shooting, there were 136 arrests and 111 officers wounded across the country.
The first wave of Ethiopian immigration to Israel arrived in 1984, and another followed in 1991. Since then, many Ethiopian Israelis have struggled to integrate into Israeli society, with leaders accusing police of maintaining racist attitudes toward the community.
Rabbi Levi Sudri, an award-winning Bible expert, believes this recent event is an essential, albeit painful, final step in the Messiah.
“When we see these events happening in the streets today, we need to look deeper, to search for their Biblical roots,” Rabbi Sudri told Breaking Israel News. “Ethiopians have a strong oral tradition that they are descended from the Tribe of Dan.”
Rabbi Sudri noted that this tribal identity has Biblical connotations as well as end-of-days implications.
“As the son of Rachel’s handmaid Bilhah, Dan always felt mistreated,” Rabbi Sudri said. “According to the Midrash (homiletic teachings), Bilhah was dark-skinned. This is compared to Rachel who was described as being very pale.”
Rabbi Sudri noted that the name ‘Dan’ is derived from the word ‘din’ (judgment), as seen in Jacob’s blessing.
Dan shall govern his people, As one of the tribes of Yisrael. Dan shall be a serpent by the road, A viper by the path, That bites the horse’s heels So that his rider is thrown backward. Genesis 49:16
“A snake is a creature of explosive anger. “They were given to anger,” Rabbi Sudri noted. “Especially towards their own brethren.”
“A snake is entirely composed of his tail,” he added. “In the desert, the tribe of Dan was at the tail end of the procession or tribes. They saw this as being some form of punishment or insult when in fact it was an honor and compliment. This aspect of being last does bring with it certain benefits. It is a power to overcome enemies in a manner that requires forbearance, as seen in the second half of Jacob’s blessing to Dan.”
“They were tasked with the mitzvah (Torah commandment) of returning lost objects that were dropped,” Rabbi Sudri said. “In the Book of Joshua, we see the Tribe of Dan becoming upset that they were the last to receive their land.”
It is important to note that the symbol of Dan is a ‘nachash’ (snake) which is equal in gematria (Hebrew numerology) to Moshiach (Messiah). The Zohar states that the commander in chief of the army of Moshiach will come from the tribe of Dan.
“The children of the maidservants all felt that they were second-class tribes, even when that feeling may not have been justified” Rabbi Sudri said. “The riots by the Ethiopians are an opportunity for Israel to do a Tikkun (fixing) of this blemish on the relationships between the tribes, between the brothers. This must be accomplished for the Ethiopians to take their place as leaders in the process leading up to the final redemption. Judah was the firstborn but Dan followed right behind. For the Moshiach to take place, we need the aspect of King David, of the Lion of Judah: pride and kingship. But we also need the aspect of Dan: of humility, submitting yourself for the good of all of Israel, since the Messiah is for all of Israel and for all of the world and doesn’t belong to any single tribe or person.”
“If we can fix the relations between the Ethiopians, the tribe of Dan, the children of Bilhah, with the Tribe of Judah, the children of Rachel, then it makes peace between the two wives in heaven, bringing them together as one. This must happen for Moshiach to come. This is true of peace between all the tribes; they must make peace as they come back from the exile. With the Ethiopians, this is especially true because they were separated from the rest of Israel for so long and because of their skin color the difference is accentuated.”
Rabbi Sudri noted that all throughout history, Europe and America have mistreated Africa.
“It could be that what is happening in Israel with our brethren from the tribe of Dan will be a catalyst for the world to fix this historic wrong. In addition, it is known that there are millions of Africans who are descended from Israel. We need to build a bridge to them via the Ethiopians who are here now.”