Police arrested a total of 17 people during and after a protest against African migrants in south Tel Aviv Wednesday night. The arrests were made for rioting, attempted assault, possession of knives and looting store fronts.
Among those arrested were 11 minors and six adults.
Additionally, two Sudanese nationals lodged complaints with police over physical assaults.
Protesters gathered Wednesday across the country to protest the growing influx of African infiltrators in Israel. Over 1,000 people attended the demonstration in Tel Aviv’s Hatikva neighborhood, holding signs calling for the deportation of the migrants, one of which read “Bibi [Netanyahu] decide – Sudan or Israel.” Similar demonstrations were held in Eilat, Bnei Brak, Sderot, Ashdod and Ashkelon.
A car containing three African migrants in Tel Aviv was set upon by a group of demonstrators, who smashed its windows and headlights. Police arrived and pushed back the rioters, and the vehicle left the area. The car’s occupants were unharmed.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said police forces were on standby in Tel Aviv and other cities to ensure that violent disturbances do not spread.
Speaking at the rally in south Tel Aviv late Wednesday, MK Danny Danon (Likud), chairman of the “Deportation Now” movement, called for the immediate expulsion of African migrants from Israel.
Danon said: “The infiltrators are a national plague and we must deport them immediately before it’s too late – the Sudanese can go back to Sudan and the rest should be deported to other countries in Africa and Eastern Europe.”
Danon added that “the State of Israel is engaged in a war against an enemy state composed of infiltrators and located within Israel. Its capital is south Tel Aviv. ‘Deportation Now’ is the only solution.”
Also Wednesday, police announced that they arrested a gang of eleven youths from south Tel Aviv on suspicion of launching a series of assaults on African migrants in the area.
Police believe the suspects, nine of whom are minors, assaulted the migrants, and used clubs and pepper spray in some of the attacks.
The Tel Aviv Juvenile Magistrate's Court extended the remand of six suspects by a day, and two adult suspects will appear before a court on Thursday.
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein informed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that he believes Israel can legally begin to detain and deport infiltrators from Sudan.
Nonprofit organizations working with the African migrant community had contended that Israel could not legally deport thousands of African refugees, asylum seekers and infiltrators as long as it is still party to an international convention on refugee rights.
The Justice Ministry released a statement saying that it had consulted with the Foreign Ministry and come to the conclusion that the Sudanese infiltrators were not eligible for asylum and they could be returned to South Sudan.
The ministry added that it would soon request the Jerusalem District Court drop a temporary injunction against taking South Sudanese citizens into custody.