Moral Low Ground


Anti-Immigration Rally Turns Violent in Israel

An African whose car window was smashed by anti-immigrant protesters in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestill)

A rally against African immigrants turned violent in Israel’s largest city on Wednesday as protesters attacked a car carrying blacks.

JTA reports that 17 people were arrested in Tel Aviv after around 1,000 demonstrators rallied against the increasing number of undocumented African immigrants entering Israel. Chanting “blacks out,” the crowd gathered in the south Tel Aviv neighborhood of Hatikva called for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the issue of African “infiltrators.”

Some of the protesters attacked a car carrying three African immigrants, smashing its windows and headlights. Agence France-Presse reports that the windshields of several cars carrying Africans were smashed. No injuries were reported, and police arrived on the scene and arrested the assailants.

A gang of 11 youths was also arrested in south Tel Aviv on Wednesday on suspicion of attacking African migrants in the area, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Danny Danon, a member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) from the conservative Likud party called African immigrants a “national plague.”

“The infiltrators are a national plague and we must deport them immediately before it’s too late,” Danon, who is also the leader of the “Deportation Now” movement, said. “The Sudanese can go back to Sudan and the rest should be deported to other countries in Africa and Eastern Europe,” he added.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is also a Likud member, addressed the problem of illegal immigration over the weekend.

“[The] phenomenon of illegal immigration from Africa is extremely serious and threatens the foundations of Israeli society, national security and national identity,” he said at a Sunday cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.

Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai told Army Radio last week that all African migrants should be jailed and expelled from the country. Israel is also in the process of constructing a wall along the Egyptian border and the world’s largest purpose-built immigrant detention center in the Negev desert to deal with the influx.

The Israeli Interior Ministry estimates there are around 55,000 undocumented African immigrants in the country of 7.6 million. There are also around 120,000 Ethiopian Jews, members of a Jewish community with roots dating back to ancient times, living in Israel.

African and other undocumented immigrants are blamed for a variety of societal ills by many Israelis, especially rising crime.

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