TEL AVIV — Violence broke out as several hundred people demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Wednesday night against the sizeable community of African immigrants in the city, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
“Following the violence, we arrested five demonstrators,” Samri added.
The media reported that people shouted xenophobic slogans, such as “blacks out,” and chided the “bleeding heart leftists” who defend immigrants.
There were also reports that two demonstrators attacked a foreigner, and that the windshields of several cars carrying Africans were smashed.
Over the years, an estimated 60,000 Africans, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, have slipped over the border into Israel from Egypt.
Following a number of recent crimes, a lively debate has erupted over the tensions caused by the presence of the large African community concentrated in south Tel Aviv.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the “phenomenon of illegal immigration from Africa is extremely serious and threatens the foundations of Israeli society, national security and national identity.”
Israel is building a wall along its border with Egypt and a detention centre in the southern Negev desert.