“We didn’t come to this country for them to murder our sons,” said Solomon’s father.
By World Israel News Staff
Nineteen-year-old Solomon Tekah, an Israeli of Ethiopian origin who was killed by an off-duty policeman on Sunday, was laid to rest Tuesday in the Haifa area.
“We didn’t come to this country for them to murder our sons,” said Solomon’s father at the funeral, which hundreds attended.
“We have an excellent community, but they are still refusing to accept us here,” noted a rabbi from the community.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called Tekah’s death a “tragic loss of life.” The prime minister said that the police chief promised to “make every effort to reach the truth as quickly as possible.”
“We have made great efforts in recent years to integrate [the Ethiopian community] into Israeli society and we still have much work to do,” Netanyahu said.
“Stop sending us nice words…. Find out the truth,” demanded Assaf Govana, a protest organizer, who was interviewed by Army Radio.
Distrust has grown between the Ethiopian community and the police. In January, Ethiopian-Israelis protested in different parts of the country after the shooting death in Bat Yam of Yehuda Biadga, 24. In that case, the policeman said that he felt threatened by a knife Biadga was wielding. Witnesses said that the two were a significant distance apart when the policeman opened fire.
More protests are expected following the latest shooting, and the police are on alert.
The policeman who killed Tekah argues that he fired in self-defense as he got caught up in a street fight and that stones were thrown at himself and family members. Eyewitnesses have challenged his account.
Media reports say that the bullet fired by the policeman ricocheted from the ground before hitting Tekah, indicating that he did not shoot to kill. The officer has been placed under house arrest. His home is under guard as his name was released on social media and threats have been made against his life.
“He was the light in his home,” said a cousin of Tekah in an interview with Kan public radio. “The parents say that they feel as though the light has been turned out.”
“When in Bat Yam the policeman comes out clean, why would a policeman care about killing?” Tekah’s cousin told Kan, referring to the Biadga shooting in January.