The Slatest

Injuries, Arrests, Vandalism Reported as Ethiopian Jews Protest in Tel Aviv

An Israeli police water cannon in Tel Aviv is deployed against demonstrators during an Ethiopian Israeli protest against discrimination.

Jack Guez/AFP/Getty

Protests triggered by a videotaped confrontation between an Ethiopian Jewish soldier and police officers in Tel Aviv became violent Sunday as at least 56 officers and 12 protesters were injured, 43 people were arrested, and a number of incidents of vandalism were reported. From the Guardian:

Thousands of Ethiopian Jews live in Israel, many of them secretly airlifted into the country in 1984 and 1990 after a rabbinical ruling that they were direct descendants of the biblical Jewish Dan tribe.

But their absorption into Israeli society has been difficult. Ethiopian community members complain of racism, lack of opportunity in Israeli society, endemic poverty and routine police harassment.

The community, which now numbers about 135,500 out of Israel’s population of more than eight million, has long complained of discrimination, racism and poverty.

Here’s the video, made public last week, of the confrontation between police and the soldier. Two of the officers involved have been suspended on suspicion of using excessive force. The soldier had been asked to leave an area in which a suspicious package was found and does not appear to have been charged with a crime.

Several injuries and arrests were also reported at an April 30 protest in Jerusalem that was prompted by the same incident.