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Israeli president says violent Ethiopian protest exposes 'open, bleeding wound' in society

  • An Israeli protester holds a sign in Hebrew reading "violent policeman should be sentenced"  during clashes between Israel's, mainly Jewish Ethiopians and Israeli riot police during a protest against racism and police brutality in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, May 3, 2015, as several thousand people from Israel's Jewish Ethiopian minority protest, shutting down a major highway and clashing with police on horseback long into the night. The protest was mostly peaceful during the day, but by nightfall became violent with at least 20 officers were hurt and "multiple protesters" arrested, Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

    An Israeli protester holds a sign in Hebrew reading "violent policeman should be sentenced" during clashes between Israel's, mainly Jewish Ethiopians and Israeli riot police during a protest against racism and police brutality in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, May 3, 2015, as several thousand people from Israel's Jewish Ethiopian minority protest, shutting down a major highway and clashing with police on horseback long into the night. The protest was mostly peaceful during the day, but by nightfall became violent with at least 20 officers were hurt and "multiple protesters" arrested, Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)  (The Associated Press)

  • Israel's mainly Jewish Ethiopians clash with Israeli riot police during a protest against racism and police brutality in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, May 3, 2015, as several thousand people from Israel's Jewish Ethiopian minority protest, shutting down a major highway and clashing with police on horseback long into the night. The protest was mostly peaceful during the day, but by nightfall became violent with at least 20 officers were hurt and "multiple protesters" arrested, Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

    Israel's mainly Jewish Ethiopians clash with Israeli riot police during a protest against racism and police brutality in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, May 3, 2015, as several thousand people from Israel's Jewish Ethiopian minority protest, shutting down a major highway and clashing with police on horseback long into the night. The protest was mostly peaceful during the day, but by nightfall became violent with at least 20 officers were hurt and "multiple protesters" arrested, Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)  (The Associated Press)

  • An injured Israeli Jewish Ethiopian is treated during clashes with Israeli riot police during a protest against racism and police brutality in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, May 3, 2015, as several thousand people from Israel's Jewish Ethiopian minority protest, shutting down a major highway and clashing with police on horseback long into the night. The protest was mostly peaceful during the day, but by nightfall became violent with at least 20 officers were hurt and "multiple protesters" arrested, Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

    An injured Israeli Jewish Ethiopian is treated during clashes with Israeli riot police during a protest against racism and police brutality in Tel Aviv, Israel, Sunday, May 3, 2015, as several thousand people from Israel's Jewish Ethiopian minority protest, shutting down a major highway and clashing with police on horseback long into the night. The protest was mostly peaceful during the day, but by nightfall became violent with at least 20 officers were hurt and "multiple protesters" arrested, Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.(AP Photo/Oded Balilty)  (The Associated Press)

Israel's president says violent protests by Ethiopian Jews have "exposed an open, bleeding wound in the heart of Israeli society" and that the country must respond to their grievances.

Reuven Rivlin spoke Monday, a day after thousands of people clashed with police in Tel Aviv. The protesters shut down a major highway, hurled stones at police officers and overturned a squad car. They were ultimately dispersed with tear gas and water cannons. More than 60 people were wounded and 40 arrested.

Simmering frustrations among Israel's Ethiopian community boiled over after footage emerged of an Ethiopian Israeli in an army uniform being beaten by police. Ethiopian Jews begin migrating to Israel three decades ago. Many complain of racism, lack of opportunity, endemic poverty and routine police harassment.