Israel's police chief claims it's 'natural' to be suspicious of Arabs and Ethiopians

Roni Alsheich cites studies that apparently show immigrants are more likely to be involved in crime than others

Thursday 01 September 2016 12:18 BST
Israeli President President Reuven Rivlin
Israeli President President Reuven Rivlin (Getty Images)

Israel’s police chief has claimed it is “natural” for officers to be suspicious of Arabs and Ethiopians.

Speaking to a group of lawyers, Roni Alsheich, argued that migrants deserved more suspicion than others.

Mr Alsheich said he believed immigrants tend to be more involved in crime than the rest of the population.

“Studies the world over, without exception, have shown that immigrants are invariably more involved in crime than others, and this should not come as a surprise,” the Times of Israel reported Mr Alshiech as saying at a meeting of the Israel Bar Association in Tel Aviv.

“When a police officer comes across a suspicious person [either young or from an immigrant background, or both], his brain suspects him more than if [the suspect] were someone else, it’s natural,” he added.

In response to accusations of police brutality against Ethiopian Jews, Mr Alsheich also claimed that “over-policing is natural”, according to RT.

“When a policeman meets a suspect [of Ethiopian descent] naturally he is more suspicious than with others. We know this. We have started to deal with this.”

The police chief went on to indicate he was also referring to East Jerusalem Palestinians and Arab Israelis.

The remarks have been criticised by some Israeli politicians and Ethiopian groups.

Israel’s police service released a statement after Mr Alsheich's comments sparked controversy.

“To remove any doubt, the statements made by the police commissioner had no intention to offend Ethiopian Israelis,” the statement said.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in