Published on Haaretz
Israel’s police force’s record of brutality and over-policing against Israelis of Ethiopian descent mean, just like their peers in the U.S., young black Israelis are growing up in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
Here is a section from a story written by an 11-year-old Israeli student of Ethiopian descent for an elementary school writing competition this spring. It is based on his personal experience:
The fat policeman said, “I think they came to break into a house here, because they’re Ethiopian criminals and we have to take them in for questioning and knock them around.” All the way to the police station we begged them to let us call our parents but they wouldn’t.
They took us to the interrogation room, where they hit us until we would tell them what we were “really” doing in that [wealthy] neighborhood. Every time, we told them the same thing – that we were running, we got tired, and sat down to rest on the bench. And every time, we were kicked or slapped again.
In the end, we despaired and refused to speak. Finally, the policemen got sick of us and let us go, warning us if we came with a kilometer of that neighborhood it would be the end of us.