Photo: Hagai Aharon
Nir Daseta says he was beaten by cops
Photo: Hagai Aharon
Photo: Gali Tivon
Archived photo
Photo: Gali Tivon

Police brutality in Israel?

Ethiopian immigrant says he was beaten and verbally degraded by Israeli police who stopped to search his car for narcotics

AFULA - An Israeli-Ethiopian said on Wednesday that policemen beat him up and degraded him by calling him racist names after searching his car for drugs.


Nir Daseta, 23, said the officers called him “a Black who not long ago was still chasing sheep in the jungle.”


He said he had to receive medical treatment at a hospital as a result of the beating. 


While the police’s northern command said they condemn unauthorized violence, they did not confirm nor deny the incident.


”We condemn any unlawful use of force and any inappropriate behavior of anyone in uniform,” northern command spokesman Eran Finemesser said. “Whoever was hurt or says he was wounded as a result of such behavior is welcome to file a complaint.”


Brutal force


Daseta said the incident occurred late on Monday after he had finished up a shift at his job. He had gotten into his car with a group of friends when an unmarked vehicle stopped next to his and three cops in civilian clothing approached him carrying flashlights.


”One of them asked me to get out of the car,” he said. “I said ‘I’ll be right out,’ and before I had a chance to step outside, one of the officers grabbed my feet. I asked him to let me go so I could get out, but then he started punching me hard in the stomach.”


Daseta said after he was beaten, another cop opened his car door and dragged him outside.


“They started to search for drugs inside my car and on my body,” he said. “This time, they didn’t beat me but they continued to use force.”


Daseta said he asked the policemen why he was being detained, and they told him he had supposedly assaulted an officer and refused to present identification.


'Chasing sheep in the jungle' 


He said that once they arrived at the station one of the policemen who had beaten him up, lead him into a bathroom.


”Then the cop told me, ‘Let’s see what you’re worth now, you loser,” Daseta said. “Then he beat me up really hard, with kicking, punching and spitting.”


He said he was then brought to another office, where another officer began mocking him, calling him a "nigger" and playing with his cellular phone that was confiscated from him in the car.


”I asked him to stop messing around with my phone and he said it was his right,” Daseta said. “He told me, ‘You’re talking to me about cellular phones? You, up until a month ago, were chasing sheep in a jungle.’"


Reminiscent of South Africa


Daseta's sister's boyfriend Elad Ne'eman said the incident is reminiscent of South Africa.


"We don’t need to travel far to see anti-Semitism," he said. "Anti-Semitism is here unfortunately, and the Israeli police has forgotten its role and allows itself to use excessive force."


Over 105,000 Ethiopian Jews, who trace their roots to the biblical King Solomon, live in Israel, most of whom were secretly airlifted in the 1980s and 1990s.


About 60 percent of the communities live below the poverty line and many complain of routine discrimination and racial slurs by fellow Israelis, including from school teachers.

Another 20,000 Ethiopians are expected to immigrate to Israel by 2007 after a pledge to speed up immigration of the Falasha Mura Jews, whose families converted to Christianity in the past 200 years and now want to come to Israel.


פרסום ראשון: 04.13.05, 20:18
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