Thousands of members of the Ethiopian community and many supporters left Tuesday afternoon to demonstrate in several major intersections and sites throughout the country, from the north to the south, after the funeral of the late Solomon Takka.
The demonstrations took place on main roads from the Yokneam Junction in the north to the Kastina junction in the south. A series of central junctions was blocked.
Demonstrators protested the death of Solomon Takka, a young member of the Ethiopian community who was killed by a bullet fired by an off-duty policeman in Kiryat Chaim, and claim that the policeman's interrogation was meant to whitewash the incident. Among signs carried by the protesters were "Cop interrogates cop" and "Policeman, who are you protecting?"
Among intersections and the roads that were blocked: Yokneam Junction (Route 70), Matam Junction at the entrance to the city of Haifa, the entrance to Ashdod (Big Junction - Highway 38), the Rishon Lezion Bridge and Rishon LeZion Interchange (Route 4) , Poleg Interchange (Route 2), Gedera Junction, and Bar Kokhba-Shtampfer Junction in Petah Tikva.
Police are deployed at the protest centers and are directing movement. Police recommend drivers not approach these centers and instead use alternate routes.
At the same time, the police arrested 16 of the protesters in Kiryat Ata for questioning. Police reported that the demonstrators burned tires and threw stones at police officers, blocking traffic and causing damage to vehicles.
Hundreds of people escorted Salomon Takka, the 18-year-old from Kiryat Chaim, who was killed by police gunfire last Sunday. Takka's father opened the eulogies: "My child had a love of life and joy of life, he was smiling and sensitive, I hope he'll be the last victim. Don't cry for my son - we demand that the murderer get what he deserves."
Ashdod Ethiopian community Rabbi Moshe Baruch accused Israeli society of having difficulty accepting the community. "What can we say when we see the body of Salomon lying in front of us? Our community is very special. For 2,500 years, it devoted itself to its Judaism, and still they're not willing to accept us."
Asaf Govana, a youth counselor and one of the leaders of the Ethiopian community in HaKrayot, said, "The next incident is at the doorstep; when an outside body examines everything done to the community the State will be surprised. A body that scrutinizes itself isn't a neutral body. They autopsied the body in Abu Kabir - it's too bad we didn't demand a representative of our own," he said.
Knesset Member Moshe Arbel (Shas) also eulogized Takka at the funeral: "When a dead body is found, the responsibility belongs to the city elders. The leaders of the people have responsibility. We're here to take that responsibility. To come and look in the eyes of the Takka family and this entire glorious community - and say forgive us that that we didn't do enough," MK Arbel said.
MK Izhar Shay (Blue and White) added, "We didn't do enough Salomon for you; I apologize for that. To the family I want to say that it's important for me to mention him not only as a victim - he is a casualty in a war that there is no more just than it. This is the war over the right of the Ethiopian community in Israel to recognition."