New York, NY, May 1, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed concern about heightened tensions between the Israeli-Ethiopian community and Israeli police, and urged all to use the opportunity to openly examine police relations with this community, take meaningful action to improve the relationship and adequately address the legitimate concerns of the Israeli-Ethiopian community.
The tensions came in the aftermath of a video showing an Ethiopian-born Israel Defense Forces soldier Damas Pakada being beaten by two Israeli police in the town of Holon. Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino condemned the incident, removed one of the police officers involved and is investigating the second. In a session with members of the community, he pledged to set up a task force to consider concerns and take action against those that abuse their position. Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin condemned the incident and the police committed to examining the Holon attack, as well as other claims of police mistreatment and racism against the Israeli-Ethiopian community.
“It is a reality that police-minority relations are being examined in democratic nations across the world,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “We urge the Israel Police to fully investigate this alarming incident and take meaningful action to assure the Israeli-Ethiopian community that the police are committed to their protection, mutual respect and are fully accessible to deal ongoing issues.”
Mr. Foxman added, “We urge the Israeli-Ethiopian community to use this terrible episode to promote greater awareness of their concerns and to engage with Commissioner Danino and other government officials to foster improved relations between the police and the community.”