Ethiopian-descent Jews’ protest turns into clash with Israeli police

Thousands of Jews of Ethiopian origin in Tel Aviv clash with Israeli police as they were protesting against racism and police brutality in Israel.

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Ethiopian-descent Jews clashed with police long into the night in Tel Aviv after the whole day protest on Sunday took place against racism and police brutality in Israel.

The protest started within a peaceful environment early on Sunday, but turned into violent when at least 20 officers were hurt and "multiple protesters" arrested according to Israeli Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

After a video footage showing an Ethiopian-descent soldier in military uniform being beaten by Israeli police, Israel’s Jewish Ethiopian minority had poured into the streets on Thursday in Jerusalem to express their discontent and frustration with the police brutality and racism against their community.

Israeli Channel 2 TV has reported that demonstrators had come from all around the country in order to show off themselves in the protest for their rights.

"I am here to fight for our rights," a 21 years-old girl who gave only her first name as Batel and coming from the northern city of Nazareth Illit told the Israeli Channel 2.

"I don't want to be beaten by police," said the girl.

"My parents didn't immigrate here for nothing. I want equality."

Israel has a remarkable amount of Ethiopian originated Jews, most of whom migrated to the Jewish state between 1984 and 1990.

However, the Ethiopian Jewish community has so far not been integrated properly into the Israeli society as they were allegedly exposed to racism, lack of opportunity, endemic poverty and routine police harassment.

The protesters at the weekend have called the re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to find a solution to the bothersome issue before the violence underwent into the level seen in Baltimore.

"Bibi, you had better not let Baltimore reach Israel," said a protester at a TV broadcast.

The death of a black man, named Freddie Gray, after one week of police custody had sparked riots among the African-American community in Baltimore, in the US state of Maryland last week.

The protesters marched and blocked main roads like Ayalon Street in Tel Aviv as they were chanting and shouting "violent police officers belong in jail."

Meanwhile, Israeli PM Netanyahu said that he would meet on Monday with representatives of Ethiopian minority Jews as well as beaten soldier for decreasing of the tension.

Social unrest and discontent had reached at its peak before the parliamentary election in March at a time when Netanyahu’s remarks on Israel’s Arab minority was denounced as ‘racist’ by both Arab people living in Israel and the international community.

“The right-wing government is in danger… Funding from foreign governments to get more Israeli Arabs to vote worked, which means all right-wing voters must make sure to go to the polls.", during the election rally, the leader of incumbent Likud government, Netanyahu had said in a Facebook video post.

In a sharp reversal of the pre-election rhetoric which opposes an independent Palestinian state, Netanyahu told NBC News after the polls concluded that he wants a “sustainable, peaceful two-state solution,” but said that “circumstances have to change” for that to be accomplished.

TRTWorld and agencies