Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh apologized on Thursday night to Israelis of Ethiopian descent for his controversial comments of Tuesday, despite his insistence earlier in the day that he would not do so.
In a meeting with the joint steering committee for the police and the leadership of the Ethiopian community in Israel, Alsheikh promised that encompassing work would be done in all police districts to evaluate if existing cases were due to over-policing and to continue to promote the closing of as many cases as possible.
The steering committee raised hard questions regarding the amount of cases opened for minors of Ethiopian descent. At their request, the police presented data showing a decrease of about 20% in the opening of cases this year when compared to the parallel period of last year.
The commissioner apologized to anyone who felt insulted from the publications of his statements and added, "There was no intention, Heaven forbid, to offend, but rather to raise the problem to promote agreed-upon solutions."
During the meeting, a dialogue took place relating to continued cooperation between the police and the Ethiopian community with a goal of restraining over-policing and reducing crime amongst youth.
In addition, to avoid incidents of friction between police and the Ethiopian community, "intensive work of the police to attain the appropriate tools for police to work with all strata of Israeli society will continue."
A message from the police stated that "The steering committee noted positively that police activity is a leading example that has no parallel in any other ministry in its scope and effectiveness in reducing the gaps regarding the Ethiopian community in Israel."
During an Israel Bar Association conference on Tuesday, Alsheikh had told listeners that it was “natural” for police to suspect someone of Ethiopian descent more than somebody from a different ethnic background.