JERUSALEM – 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.