Photo Credit: Omer Fichman / Flash 90
Eritrean asylum seekers who oppose the regime in Eritrea and pro regime activists clash with Israeli police in south Tel Aviv, September 2, 2023.

At least 140 people – including 30 police officers — were injured in Tel Aviv this weekend in clashes between Eritrean asylum seekers supporting and opposing the regime in Africa.

Hundreds of Eritreans gathered outside the site of a planned pro-regime event sponsored by the Embassy of Eritrea in Israel.


The rioters sought to prevent the event from taking place; Israeli police declared the gathering to be an illegal demonstration and ordered the protesters to leave.

In response, the rioters — including some who were masked — hurled rocks, lumber, and garbage bags at police officers, yelling, “The State of Israel supports the dictator.”

Some of the rioters broke through police barriers, looting and smashing store windows and vehicle windshields. They badly damaged at least one police car and torched a building as well.

Police used riot dispersal methods and mounted forces to clear the area.

According to the Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency medical response service, at least 14 people were seriously injured; 13 were reported in fair condition. Many were reportedly foreign nationals.

Police reported at least 39 arrests.

There are currently some 25,000 Eritrean infiltrators who arrived in the Jewish State years ago seeking asylum, according to the Assaf refugee advocacy organization.

Following the disturbances, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would convene a special ministerial team on Sunday at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem “to examine measures to be taken against illegal infiltrators who took part in the disturbances, including steps toward deportation.”

Science Minister Ofir Akunis, a resident of Tel Aviv, expressed his support for Tel Aviv Police as they worked to “maintain law and order in the south of the city.”

Akunis declared that “riots by infiltrators, injuries of multiple police officers and acts of looting are not a legitimate protest.”

Regardless of political differences, Akunis said, “all residents of the city must now strengthen and back up the Israel Police, which is doing its duty as required to maintain public order in the south of the city and restore law and order as soon as possible.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.