Police chief: 'It is proven that migrants are more involved in crime'

Al-Sheikh said that cracking down on “crime and terror” in east Jerusalem “will be hard, but we will do it” since the current more lawless situation is a “challenge to the rule of law.”

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August 30, 2016 21:17
3 minute read.
Police Chief Roni Al-Sheikh

Police Chief Roni Alsheich at the Israel Bar Association Conference at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: NAAMA COHEN FRIEDMAN/ BAR ASSOCIATION SPOKESWOMAN)

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich elicited audible gasps among a gathering of lawyers Tuesday when he said it was “natural” for law enforcement officials to be more suspicious of Ethiopians and other migrants than the general population.

“All over the world, it is proven that migrants are more involved in crime than others.

Younger people are more involved in crime than others.

When the two things go together, a particular group is more involved in crime,” he said at the Israel Bar Association Conference at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. Alsheich was responding to a member of the audience who asked why there is more police violence against Ethiopian-Israelis.

“This also goes for Arabs… and also in east Jerusalem,” Alsheich continued. “When a policeman meets a suspect [of Ethiopian descent or other groups with higher crime rates], naturally he is more suspicious than with others.

We know this. We have started to deal with this.”

The police chief said, however, that the Ethiopian community’s faith in the police is at a high, despite some public battles. This, he said, is because the issue is being addressed by reducing “over-policing” and dropping low-grade cases in which Ethiopians were arrested because of friction with police but no other criminal suspicion.

Also, he said, the Ethiopian communities’ leaders are working hand in hand with police to reduce friction.

The umbrella organization of Ethiopian immigrants in Israel called upon Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to fire Alsheich due to his remarks.

“A man like this cannot command such an important body,” the organization said.

Opposition MKs also sharply criticized Alsheich for his statements about minorities.

“Not only is the commissioner not dealing with police violence toward the Ethiopian community, he is actually encouraging it,” said Zionist Union faction head Merav Michaeli. “Young Ethiopian immigrants are not ‘migrants.’ They are Israeli in every way, and statements like Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich elicited audible gasps among a gathering of lawyers Tuesday when he said it was “natural” for law enforcement officials to be more suspicious of Ethiopians and other migrants than the general population.

“All over the world, it is proven that migrants are more involved in crime than others.

Younger people are more involved in crime than others.

When the two things go together, a particular group is more involved in crime,” he said at the Israel Bar Association Conference at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. Alsheich was responding to a member of the audience who asked why there is more police violence against Ethiopian-Israelis.

“This also goes for Arabs… and also in east Jerusalem,” Alsheich continued. “When a policeman meets a suspect [of Ethiopian descent or other groups with higher crime rates], naturally he is more suspicious than with others.

We know this. We have started to deal with this.”

The police chief said, however, that the Ethiopian community’s faith in the police is at a high, despite some public battles. This, he said, is because the issue is being addressed by reducing “over-policing” and dropping low-grade cases in which Ethiopians were arrested because of friction with police but no other criminal suspicion.

Also, he said, the Ethiopian communities’ leaders are working hand in hand with police to reduce friction.

The umbrella organization of Ethiopian immigrants in Israel called upon Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to fire Alsheich due to his remarks.

“A man like this cannot command such an important body,” the organization said.

Opposition MKs also sharply criticized Alsheich for his statements about minorities.

“Not only is the commissioner not dealing with police violence toward the Ethiopian community, he is actually encouraging it,” said Zionist Union faction head Merav Michaeli. “Young Ethiopian immigrants are not ‘migrants.’ They are Israeli in every way, and statements like


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