Community protests shooting of young Ethiopian-Israeli following shooting

"Our blood is good for more than just wars, army, and every other office this country represents,” Roy Eyov said.

July 1, 2019 19:17
3 minute read.
Ethiopians protest after the murder of Yehuda Biagda due to police brutality, Tel Aviv, Jan. 2019

Ethiopian Jews protest in Tel Aviv after the murder of 24-year-old Yehuda Biagda due to police brutality, Jan. 2019.. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

An 18 year-old Ethiopian-Israeli was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in the northern community of Kiryat Haim Sunday night, prompting outraged community members to unite in protest.

The young man was identified as Solomon Tekah, who was found in critical condition at around 8 p.m., according to the Magen David Adom. He was pronounced dead shortly after.

Tekah’s parents, who joined the community in protests, were weeping and chanting, “we want justice for the child we lost. My child, a precious child of God. He did nothing wrong, he did not deserve this.”

The city of Haifa appeared to have shut down on Monday. Cars stood in standstill traffic for hours. Whispers of the shooting filled the crowded buses. Streets that were blockaded were barren, except for the cries of the Ethiopian community who had lost one of their own.

This incident has sparked renewed accusations of police brutality and racism towards the Israeli-Ethiopian community.

"Our blood is good for more than just wars, army, and every other office this country represents,” said Roy Eyov, who helped lead a march from the Zvulun Police Station to a major intersection on HaHistadrut Street, the street where Tekah was murdered.

During the march protestors chanted, “this is a police state, our blood won’t be wasted for nothing, we get killed for nothing.”

Eyov, 23, explained he was a combat soldier in the Givati Brigade.

“All we want to do is give back, but we have lost our impact as people,” he said. “I miss when I could be out with my little brother and not fear the cops.”

He went on to explain the strategy of the protest.

“We want people to wake up. We won’t let cars go by because when [traffic jams] happen people get mad,” he explained. “They see a lot of black people, and they’re about to curse us, but then they think about it [the reason we’re here] and realize that our man got killed out here on our streets. On our streets, it’s dangerous for us.”

A police statement revealed that the off-duty police officer who shot Tekah was with his wife and three children at a nearby playground when he noticed a fight in the street and tried to break it up.

The youth hurled stones at the officer, according to the release, prompting him to claim he was in mortal danger when he fired the shot.

Members of Knesset have also began to express outrage about the incident and police brutality.

"No cover-up will help you this time, Israeli police," said Blue and White MK Pnina Tamano-Shata over Facebook. "The blood of young Ethiopian immigrants is not unclaimed property."

Despite repeated promises, many claim the government has not taken concrete action to prevent the growth of racist sentiment in Israel.

“A young man was shot by the police because he was out playing with his friends, no justice was served for this young man,” continued Eyov. “This is not the first time, that’s why we must protest.”

A similar incident occurred in January when police shot and killed Ethiopian-Israeli 24 year-old, Yehuda Biadga, in Bat Yam. This incident led to mass protests throughout the country.

The march grew larger as it approached the main intersection. The community of Kiryat Haim huddled around Tekah’s parents in a close-knit circle as they publicly mourned the loss of their son. Many weeped uncontrollably alongside the couple. Tekah’s mother repeatedly refused water, even as her voice grew coarse.

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