Ethiopians riot in Tel Aviv
Ethiopians riot in Tel AvivFlash 90

The riots in Tel Aviv Sunday by Ethiopian protesters have prompted politicians to comment on the situation. Speaking with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that there was definitely good reason to examine the issues raised by protesters, “but there is no place for violence and violations of the law.” Netanyahu has called a government meeting for Monday to discuss Sunday's riots.

Aharonvitch said that there was “no doubt that the protesters have justified complaints. In Ofer Prison today, 19% of the inmates are Ethiopian, and there have been times where 40% of the inmates have been from that community. But they do not have a permit for this protest, and that makes it illegal.

“We have to understand the root causes of the protests,” Aharonovitch said. “I see what happens in my hometown of Netanya, I see the problems. But you cannot take a single incident – in this case the video of violence by a police officer – and turn it into a reason for a riot. These things happen, with Ethiopians, with Russians, with Arabs, with immigrants from France. The solution is not just with the police. On Monday there will be a government meeting about this,” said Aharonovitch. “I hope we will find some solutions.”

Writing on his Facebook page, Zionist Camp/Labor Party chairman Yitzhak Herzog wrote that the riots by Ethiopian youths in Tel Aviv was a “sad moment for Israel. These youths were born in Israel and are graduates of our educational system and the IDF. They dream and speak Hebrew and find themselves over and over again helpless against the poor treatment they receive from the public.

“I hope that the smug attitude the Prime Minister has displayed until now on this matter will soon evaporate,” said Herzog. “Racism and an unwillingness to pay attention to the suffering of others is a recipe for the explosion of a time bomb. Solving the pain and suffering of the Ethiopian community is a national challenge and necessity.”