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BBC - Israel must eliminate racism - PM Netanyahu

Israel's prime minister has said racism in the country must be eliminated, after protests by Ethiopian Israelis against alleged discrimination.

Benjamin Netanyahu spoke after meeting Ethiopian Israeli community leaders and an Ethiopian Israeli soldier, whose beating by police has fuelled tensions.

A protest by Ethiopian Israelis on Sunday ended in clashes with police.

Israel's president said the community's grievances "revealed an open and raw wound" at the heart of Israeli society.

"We must look directly at this open wound," Reuven Rivlin added. "We have erred. We did not look, and we did not listen enough."

At least 46 police and seven demonstrators were hurt in the clashes which followed the protest in Tel Aviv on Sunday night, officials said. Dozens of protesters were arrested, police said.

Call for unity

On Monday, Mr Netanyahu met Israeli soldier Damas Fekade, who was beaten by two police officers in a suburb of Tel Aviv last week.

The prime minister praised Mr Fekade and told him he had been shocked by the video of the beating.

Afterwards, Mr Netanyahu met Ethiopian Israeli leaders in an effort to reassure the community.

"We must stand together as one against the phenomenon of racism, to denounce it and eliminate it," he said.

One of the policemen involved in Mr Fekade's beating has been dismissed and the other suspended from the force, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told the BBC.

An investigation into the incident is under way.

Tear gas

The protests on Sunday started peacefully but became more violent as night fell.

Some protesters threw stones, bottles and chairs at police and tried to enter the Tel Aviv municipality building.

Police fired tear gas and stun grenades and officers on horseback charged the crowd to try to disperse it.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32580708

Tag(s) : #Moyen et Proche Orient