Eritrean migrants living in Tel Aviv 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A Tel Aviv man stabbed three Eritrean migrants at an Internet café in south Tel
Aviv’s Shapira neighborhood on Tuesday morning, leaving two patrons lightly
Police arrested a suspect shortly after the stabbing, who they
described as a 38-yearold “mentally disturbed” Tel Aviv resident.
said the man had been receiving psychiatric treatment for some time before the
incident took place, but would not elaborate on the specifics of his
He will be brought for a hearing at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s
Court on Wednesday morning, where police will seek an extension of his
According to eyewitnesses, the man stabbed two patrons – who had
their backs to him – immediately after entering the store. The owner of the
internet café, Isaias Tesfamariam, said he was cut on the hand when he began
struggling with the assailant, who said nothing before he began to
Tesfamariam, who has lived in Israel for the past four years and
nine months, said he opened the Internet café a little over a year ago and has
not experienced any problems with veteran Israeli residents.
that he has no idea why anyone would target his store or his
“This has never happened before, we’ve never had any
problems,” Tesfamariam said, adding that he is not afraid he will be targeted
again. “All I can do is just protect myself, what else can I do?” Shapira and
the south Tel Aviv neighborhoods of Hatikva and Neveh Sha’anan have seen a
series of attacks in recent months on members of the African migrant community –
which numbers more than 60,000 across Israel.
In mid-July a man opened
fire on a group of Eritrean men sleeping in a doorway on Hahmei Yisrael street
in south Tel Aviv, lightly wounding one man.
Police said Tuesday the case
is still under investigation, but that they believe the incident was part of a
robbery and not racially-motivated. In late May, residents of the Hatikva
neighborhood smashed African-owned stores and beat African migrants, following a
protest against illegal African “infiltrators” held in the neighborhood earlier
in the night. Also, in April, four different buildings housing African migrants
in south Tel Aviv were hit by firebombs.
During a cabinet meeting on
Monday morning, the Population, Immigration and Border Authority presented Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with figures indicating what they say has been a
marked decrease in the number of illegal migrants entering Israel, as a result
of the continued construction of the 205-km. Egypt border
According to PIBA, over the course of July, 248 migrants illegally
entered Israel, as opposed to 1,000 in June and around 2,000 in May. They added
that all those who entered were arrested and are currently detained in Israel
Prisons Services facilities.