The quiet that fell upon Levinsky Park in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night was broken only by the sound of wailing – of friends, relatives and asylum- seekers he’d never met, mourning the death of Haptom Zarhum.
There were hundreds of mourners on hand, many holding candles as their eyes welled with tears. There was a large number of white Israelis present in solidarity with the African migrant community, but ultimately they were a small minority, as this tragedy is felt greatest by those who saw one of their own die a horribly brutal death.
It wasn’t the first time that the community held a memorial at Levinsky Park, across the street from the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station. In October 2013, hundreds gathered there to mourn the more than 300 African migrants, mainly from Eritrea and Somalia, lost at sea when their boat capsized off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa.