Police, Ethiopian Israelis Reach Agreement on Reforms

The Israel Police has published a new list of guidelines and agreements formed with the Ethiopian Israeli community on Monday, hours before a mass protest was expected to launch outside Tel Aviv's Azrieli Mall. 

The conclusions, published via a joint committee of police officers and Ethiopian Israeli officials, include a number of new operational measures, according to Channel 10.

Among them: 

  • 64 of 300 criminal cases opened against young Ethiopian Israelis will be altered to allow the minors to return to "the normative path";
  • Police will undergo "extensive training programs adapted to work in a multicultural society,"; 
  • Amharic-speaking officers will placed in all police stations, as well as youth counselors;
  • personnel will be increased to promote the program;
  • police stations and websites will include forms in Amharic, for the purpose of filing a complaint against the police; 
  • transparency will be increased "with regard to disciplinary action by police who broke norms"; and
  • at 24 police stations throughout the country, in areas where there is a high concentration of Ethiopian Israelis, a joint forum will be established of officers and community representatives.

2.3% of Israel Police officers, or 663 total, are of Ethiopian origin.  

The Israel Police noted that this statistic shows "adequate representation in employing them, relative to their proportion in the general population" – but added that the targets set for 2019 is to increase this representation to 3.5 percent.

In May, two Israel Police officers in Holon beat IDF soldier Damas Pakada, and footage of the incident sparked mass protests nationwide. After several of the protests turned violent, police began initiating a crackdown, exacerbating tensions. 

More recently, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided not to persecute the officers involved in the incident – a move which sparked protest from Ethiopian Israelis and police officers alike.

Last week, several police officers did note that the officer involved had apparently been approached aggressively by Pakada – and lamented that public backlash from the case could cause the Israel Police to be banned from coping adequately with crime. 

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/197088

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