Anti-African street violence surges in Israel
Jerusalem - Surging street violence against African migrants, including a rampage that an Israeli broadcaster dubbed a “pogrom”, drew empathy for the rioters from the interior minister on Thursday.
Waving Israeli flags and chanting “Deport the Sudanese”, residents of a low-income Tel Aviv neighbourhood where many of the border-jumpers from Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan live held a march late Wednesday that turned violent.
Police said 20 people were arrested for assault and vandalism.
Trash cans were set alight, storefront windows were broken and a crowd attacked an African driving through the area, breaking his car’s windows. No serious injuries were reported.
Interviewing Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Army Radio likened the incident to pogrom attacks on Jews in 19th century Europe. Yishai bristled at such language, citing police findings that Sudanese and Eritrean migrants were a crime risk.
“I cannot judge a man whose daughter gets raped. I cannot judge a young woman who cannot walk home,” said Yishai, who heads a party run by rabbis in the coalition government. “I cannot under any circumstances judge people who get abused and harmed, and who are then confronted by the state, which says, ‘Why do you behave this way to the foreigners?’”
Fleeing poverty, fighting and authoritarian rule, some 60,000 Africans have crossed illegally into Israel through the relatively porous desert border with Egypt in recent years. That has jarred the Jewish state, with its already ethnically fraught citizen population of 7.8 million.
Some Israelis warn of a gathering demographic and economic crisis while others say a country born after the Holocaust has a special responsibility to offer foreigners sanctuary.
Source: Angola Press Agency