Police Chief Roni Alsheikh
Police Chief Roni Alsheikh Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

Police Chief Roni Alsheikh on Thursday evening met with members of the Ethiopian community in Israel, and apologized to them over recent remarks which were interpreted to mean that he was insulting members of the Ethiopian community.

In comments at the Israel Bar Association conference earlier this week, Alsheikh said that it is “natural” to suspect migrants of crimes and pointed out the issue of "extra policing" in the Ethiopian community – comments which caused a firestorm.

The police later clarified that Alsheikh was referring to studies by criminologists regarding migrant communities around the world and his remarks were meant to admit that there is a problem that needs fixing and were not meant to offend anyone.

The police said on Thursday that during Thursday’s meeting, Alsheikh “welcomed the opportunity to directly explain the rationale behind his remarks and said that there was no intention to offend, God forbid, but to raise the issue in order to promote agreed upon solutions.”

The talks focused on cooperation between the police and the Ethiopian community in order to curb the extra policing and reduce crime among youth.

During the meeting, police representatives presented data indicating a decrease of 20% of cases involving members of the Ethiopian community, as well as the rise in the level of trust in the police among members of the community from 18% in 2015 to 25% in 2016.

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