Israel’s Police Force has set up A Gender Equality and Cultural Diversity Unit.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Acting Police Commissioner Motti Cohen have tasked the department to focus on “over-policing” and diversity.
The new initiative follows the death of Solomon Tekah, shot by an off-duty Israeli police officer in June, and accusations of police brutality towards the Ethiopian community.
The unit will operate on a national level responsible for introducing multicultural awareness among officers who will be “directly answerable” to the Police Commissioner.
Erdan explained to reporters the unit will “uproot all forms of discrimination” wherever it exists within the police and would supervise disciplinary matters to ensure unworthy police behaviour is handled severely.
Erdan added that police must be familiar with “different cultures” of citizens with whom they interact.
The police officer who tragically killed Tekah told investigators he felt threatened whilst attempting to break up a street fight.
An internal investigation demonstrated that the officers’ bullet ricocheted before fatally striking Tekah.
The Ethiopian community held wide ranging protests across the country at key intersections across the country reducing traffic to a standstill in areas for a number of days in the aftermath of the incident.
Protest leader Avi Yalo said that violence was fuelled by racism and oppression over many years.
Erdan warned protesters violence and anarchy would not be tolerated. At least 111 officers and dozens of protesters were wounded, 136 people were arrested during demonstrations.
By Leah Waxler