The Times of Israel liveblogged Sunday’s developments as they unfolded.
Police ready for Tel Aviv rally
Police in Tel Aviv are preparing for a mass rally by Ethiopian Israelis in Tel Aviv, after similar protests on Thursday night in the capital. The protest aims to highlight racism and police brutality directed at members of the Ethiopian-Israeli community.
While no formal request to hold a rally has been filed, according to Channel 2, police are preparing for the protest, which has been widely publicized on social media.
“We will permit a reasonable and proportional demonstration,” police commander Yehuda Dahan tells the TV station. “We are preparing for demonstrators, and to allow the protest by the Ethiopian community. We understand their feelings and identify with them. We would be happy to allow it provided it is legal.”
Dahan urges protesters not to cause a “provocation” and block the Tel Aviv Ayalon highway, as planned. He also appeals to the protesters to keep the protest peaceful.
The demonstrations began last Thursday in Jerusalem, after a video surfaced of two cops beating up an IDF soldier of Ethiopian origin.
8 days after quake, 3 survivors found
An official says rescuers have found three survivors in a mountainous village in Nepal, eight days since the earthquake.
Surya Prasad Upadhaya, a government administrator, says two men and a woman were pulled out Sunday from near Syauli village. They have been taken to a nearby military hospital for treatment.
Other details are not immediately known.
The district is the worst hit by the magnitude-7.8 earthquake with the highest number of casualties.
It is located about 60 kilometers (35 miles) west of the capital, Kathmandu.
Nepal says death toll to jump ‘much higher’
The death toll from an earthquake that ripped through Nepal will climb “much higher,” the government warns, as relief teams raced to reach survivors of the disaster that has already claimed more than 7,000 lives.
Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat says the toll will jump once teams reached far-flung villages feared flattened in the worst quake to hit the impoverished Himalayan nation in more than 80 years.
“There are still villages where we know that all houses have been destroyed, but have not yet been able to reach,” Mahat says in a statement.
“The aftershocks have not receded and we expect the final casualty numbers to climb much higher,” the minister says, as he appeals for hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign donations to help rebuild the devastated country.
US consulate warns citizens to avoid protest
The US consulate general issues a statement warning American citizens to steer clear of Sunday’s Ethiopian-Israeli protest.
“This demonstration has the potential of drawing large crowds. A similar protest held in Jerusalem on Thursday lasted several hours and turned violent, resulting in injuries, arrests, and property damage. We advise US citizens to avoid the area and to monitor local media for updates,” it says.
“Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates. Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.”
‘98% of sexual harassment victims haven’t reported it’
A new study by the Central Bureau of Statistics reveals that 98 percent of sexual harassment victims haven’t reported it to the police. Moreover, some 60% of thefts, 56% of physical assaults, and 91% of cyber crimes are not reported.
Meanwhile, 69% of victims of assault who reported the crime to police were unsatisfied by the police response. The majority of those who were robbed were similarly not pleased with the police response (60%).
The report, carried out in cooperation with the Public Security Ministry, recorded 714,000 crimes in the past year against adults over the ages of 20. Some 95,000 people were victims of sexual harassment (1.8%), and 9,000 were victims of sex crimes (0.2%).
Documents linked to missing Israeli found
Documents linked to missing Israeli hiker Or Asraf in Nepal are located, according to the ZAKA team on the ground.
The team does not elaborate.
According to the ultra-Orthodox Kikar HaShabat website, the area in which Asraf is believed to have disappeared in the Langtang region is dangerously rocky and full of mudslides.
Asraf is the last Israeli unaccounted for in quake-hit Nepal. His father Patrick and fellow members of the IDF’s elite Egoz unit have joined the search teams in the region and remain optimistic.
‘Saudi Arabia using US-supplied cluster bombs’
The Saudi-led coalition bombing rebels in Yemen has been using US-supplied cluster munitions in its air campaign, Human Rights Watch says, warning of the long-term dangers to civilians.
The widely banned bombs contain dozens of submunitions, which sometimes do not explode, becoming de facto landmines that can kill or maim long after they were dropped.
HRW says it had gathered photographs, video and other evidence indicating that cluster munitions had been used in coalition airstrikes against the Houthi rebel stronghold of Saada province in Yemen’s northern mountains in recent weeks.
It says that analysis of satellite imagery suggests that the weapons had landed on a cultivated plateau, within 600 meters (yards) of populated areas.
Cluster munitions are prohibited by a 2008 treaty adopted by 116 countries, but not by Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners or the United States.
“Saudi-led cluster munition airstrikes have been hitting areas near villages, putting local people in danger,” says HRW arms director Steve Goose.
Early in the air campaign that it launched on March 26, Saudi Arabia denied it was using cluster munitions.
101-year-old man found alive in Nepal rubble
A 101-year-old man was pulled alive from the rubble of his house in Nepal seven days after it collapsed in a deadly earthquake, police say.
The man was rescued on Saturday and is now in hospital, according to Arun Kumar Singh, a local police official.
‘Send migrants back,’ France’s Le Pen says
Far right National Front leader Marine Le Pen says France should send migrants back across the Mediterranean Sea to stop them from taking dangerous boats to European shores.
Criticizing European immigration policy, she says on Europe-1 radio Sunday that France should send migrants back to their port of departure so “traffickers know that no migrant will come ashore on our coasts.”
European ships rescued nearly 3,700 migrants on Saturday alone.
Le Pen also says her outspoken father, party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, “should no longer speak in the name of the National Front.”
Jean-Marie Le Pen is facing a party disciplinary board Monday for his anti-Semitic remarks. His daughter, leading the party since 2011, has cleaned up its image as she aims for the French presidency.
Body of missing Israeli found, aid team says
The body of missing Israeli trekker Or Asraf was located in Nepal early Sunday morning, the Zaka relief team announces.
It says that the rescue operation to retrieve his remains from the mountainside is “complicated,” and will probably take place Monday morning.
Netanyahu to meet assaulted Ethiopian soldier
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet Monday with the IDF soldier who was assaulted by two cops in what he maintained was a racist attack.
The prime minister will also meet with representatives from the Ethiopian community, as well as representatives from the Public Security Ministry, Welfare Ministry, Immigrant Absorption Ministry, Interior Ministry, and police.
The assault against Damas Pakada was captured on tape, setting off protests by Ethiopian Israelis against police brutality.
Ethiopian Israeli protest begins
The Ethiopian-Israeli demonstration in Tel Aviv kicks off near the Azrieli Center.
The protesters are blocking the roads in the area and chanting slogans against police brutality, the Ynet news website reports.
Traffic now at a halt on Menachem Begin in Tel Aviv because of Ethiopian demo. pic.twitter.com/HybvnvFIdC
— John Reed (@JohninJerusalem) May 3, 2015
Foreign Ministry can’t confirm Israeli’s death
The Foreign Ministry cannot confirm the death of Or Asraf at this time.
A joint Israeli relief team, with representatives from Zaka and Hatzolah, maintains they located his remains in the Langtang region and will return to extract it from the area when conditions permit.
“We are very sad that our mission ended this way,” Hatzolah founder Eli Beer says in a statement. “During all the days of searching for Or we had hope we would find him alive and bring him to his family. Unfortunately, despite our efforts, we found Or no longer among the living.”
‘Hundreds’ said attending anti-racism protest
Hundreds of people are participating in the anti-racism protest, according to Hebrew media reports.
Police are anticipating up to 5,000 protesters. The demonstrators plan to march from the Azrieli Center to Rabin Square.
The demonstrators are blocking traffic on Menachem Begin Rd. and Kaplan street. Police are instructing drivers to avoid the area.
Asraf’s commander identified his body
Or Asraf’s commander in the elite IDF Egoz unit identified his remains, Channel 2 reports. Some of Asraf’s friends from his unit were flown out to Nepal to assist the rescue efforts last week.
Asraf recently completed his army service. During last summer’s Gaza conflict, he was moderately injured in Shejaiya, but returned to complete his service once recovered.
Several protesters arrested
Several protesters are detained in Tel Aviv, according to Channel 2.
MKs join Ethiopian-Israeli protest
Joint [Arab] List leader Ayman Odeh and MK Dov Khenin join the protest.
The Zionist Union’s Stav Shaffir, and former Yesh Atid MK Pnina Tamano-Shata — the first female Ethiopian-born Knesset member — are in attendance as well.
“The young generation that grew up in Israel is demanding, rightfully, equal opportunity,” Tamano-Shata tells Army Radio. “It is fed up with being discriminated against from a young age.”
The protesters are congregating on the Ayalon highway, stopping traffic.
Israeli hiker’s friends carrying his body to nearby village
Patrick Asraf tells Israeli media that 20 of his son’s friends — who are part of the IDF Egoz unit — are braving dangerous terrain, in the dark, to bring Or Asraf’s body to the closest village.
The group are risking their lives, carrying his remains in a rocky, mudslide-ridden area, which was hit hard by the earthquake, he says.
“His friends, all 20 people, are walking through a very dangerous area — now it’s dark and the danger is very great, rocks are flying and the life of every person there is at risk,” he says.
Rescue teams will set out early Monday morning to the village to bring Asraf’s body to burial in Israel.
The family thanked the Israeli government for the efforts to locate Or.
The Asraf family is mourning “its beloved son, the salt of the earth,” a statement from the family says, according to Ynet. “Patrick and Orit Asraf, Or’s father and mother, promised to bring him home and kept their promise.”
Ayalon highway closed in both directions
Traffic on the Ayalon highway comes to a standstill as hundreds of protesters gather on the major north-south artery. The highway is closed in both directions.
‘We’re all Jews, we’re all equal,’ protesters shout
As hundreds of protesters flood the Ayalon highway, only several dozen demonstrators and hundreds of cops stand near the Azrieli Center. The streets in the area remain closed to traffic.
Protesters are waving Israeli and Ethiopian flags, and chanting: “We’re all Jews. We’re all equal,” and “Enough racism, enough violence.”
— Judah Ari Gross contributed
‘First, violent police need to be dealt with’
“Being black, I have to protest today,” 34-year-old Eddie Maconen tells AFP.
“I never experienced police violence against me personally, but it is aimed at my community which I have to support,” he says.
Maconen, who came to the country aged three, says the protesters wanted violent policemen to be put on trial before deeper issues of social inequality were tackled.
“First the police need to be dealt with, then we’ll get to all the other (official) bodies that screw over Ethiopians,” he says.
Police threaten to use force to clear highway
Police are threatening to use riot dispersal means if the protesters don’t clear off of the Ayalon highway.
‘It’s my country, what am I supposed to do?’
A woman who identifies herself as Tenat says she came out to the protest after pulling a double shift at Schneider Children’s Medical Center, where she works as a nurse, because “It’s my country, what am I supposed to do?”
She addresses the incident of police brutality which sparked the protest, and remarks: “Tomorrow it could be my brothers or my cousins.”
“It’s like we’re not a part of the country, it’s like we’re not worthy. It tires you, every day living like this,” she says.
The crowds continue to swell. The Ayalon highway heading north is opened to traffic.
— Judah Ari Gross contributed
Police lock arms, push protesters
Police enter the crowd, lock arms, and push back at the protesters.
Protester arrested for pulling cop’s hair
A female protester is arrested after she pulls a policewoman’s hair, a Times of Israel correspondent says.
Another protester is detained as well.
Police call in Border Guard reinforcements.
— Judah Ari Gross contributed
Police clash with protesters, who shout ‘murderers’
Police are clashing with demonstrators, as the crowd chants “Racists! racists!” and “You’re murderers, you’re murderers.”
Onlookers in the Azrieli Center snap pictures from the towers.
— Judah Ari Gross contributed
Aerial photos of the protest
The police post aerial photos of the protest.
Protesters head toward Rabin Square
The throngs of protesters, who number in the thousands, head en masse toward Rabin Square.
President, IDF chief mourn Or Asraf
President Reuven Rivlin and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot offer condolences to the family of Or Asraf, whose body was discovered in Nepal earlier today.
“The terrible news of Or Asraf’s death is heartbreaking,” Rivlin says in a statement. “The mobilization of search and rescue forces, and the loyal support of his army comrades in the search, instilled within us great hope. It was the prayer of an entire nation that he would be found alive and well. My sympathies go out to his family after this difficult and tragic loss.”
Eizenkot calls Asraf “the salt of the earth,” and the “best of our boys.”
Police preparing to reopen highway
After three hours, police in Tel Aviv are urging protesters to move away from the Ayalon highway and are working to reopen it to traffic, Ynet reports.
Ayalon open, protesters head to Rabin Square
The Ayalon highway reopens in both directions, according to police.
Thousands of demonstrators head to Rabin Square, where police in riot gear are lined up at the entrance.
“Disgusting!” one protester yells at the cops.
Kerry vows Washington won’t ‘disappoint Israel’
US Secretary of State John Kerry tells Channel 10 he believes Israel would consult with the US before launching a military strike on Iran, because Washington would be “deeply involved” in the “huge implications” and fallout of a raid on Tehran’s nuclear facilities.
“We will not sign a deal that does not close off Iran’s pathways to a bomb and that doesn’t give us the confidence — to all of our experts, in fact to global experts — that we will be able to know what Iran is doing and prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon,” Kerry says.
“I believe that where we are heading will in fact protect Israel,” Kerry says in an interview at the State Department in Washington. “President Obama has absolutely pledged they will not get a nuclear weapon… We will have inspectors in there every single day. That is not a 10-year deal. That’s forever.”
“There’s a lot of hysteria about this deal,” Kerry claims. “People really need to look at the facts, and they need to look at the science of what is behind those facts.”
Kerry vows the US won’t “disappoint Israel.”
Earlier, Netanyahu condemns the nuclear deal.
“We think that the goal of the Iran deal should not be just to reach any deal. It should be to block Iran’s path to the bomb,” Netanyahu says.
“So we think we need a different deal, a better deal and there are those who tell us that this will not endanger Israel. I have to tell you as the Prime Minister of Israel responsible for Israel’s security, it endangers Israel, it endangers the region, it endangers the world, the entire world in my opinion. So I think it’s very important to insist on a better deal.”
Kerry wanted to visit, PM told him to wait — report
Kerry had suggested he visit Israel after elections, but Netanyahu told him to hold off on the trip until after a coalition is formed, Channel 2 reports.
Tel Aviv rally turns violent
In Rabin Square, police arrive mounted on horses and spray the crowds of protesters with tear gas.
Demonstrators are throwing glass and plastic bottles at police.
Some people spray police officers with a hose. Police charge in response.
Several people are arrested, according to Channel 2.
Protesters try to break into city hall
Protesters at the Ethiopian-Israeli rally try to break into city hall, according to Hebrew reports.
Several policemen are reportedly injured in the clashes.
Police chief says violence ‘doesn’t serve your cause’
Police chief Yohanan Danino tell Channel 10 police permitted the protests to proceed — both on Thursday and today — even though the demonstrations were not authorized.
He says the violence “doesn’t serve your cause.”
“We will not allow vandalism,” or any attacks against police or citizens, Danino says. “This is not a legitimate protest.”
5 cops said hurt at protest
Five policemen are injured in the Tel Aviv protest, Ynet reports.
At least three protesters are arrested after trying to break into City Hall, it says.
Protester urges crowd ‘no to violence’
The crowd at Rabin Square thins out, and protesters begin to leave the area.
A protester named Gideon, who does not want to give his last name, tells a crowd: “No to violence. We’ve been on the receiving end of violence. The hardest hits, we’ve been dealt. So just say no to violence now.”
“I should be able to walk around where I want, when I want,” he adds. Demonstrators nod emphatically.
A former IDF soldier, who served in the Golani Brigade during Operation Cast Lead, says: “I almost lost my life for the country, and this is how they treat us. This is how I feel, at least.”
“We are suffering from the police, just because the color of our skin. We say no to racism, we say no to police brutality, we’ve had it up to here.”
“Neither the president, nor the prime minister has met with us,” he adds. “The meeting tomorrow will be a good start.”
— Judah Ari Gross contributed
Police launch stun grenades at demonstrators
Police launch stun grenades at protesters in Rabin Square to disperse the crowds.
Demonstrators run away frantically, and hurl rocks and bottles at cops.
Demonstrators are ripping mirrors off of cars, and at least 10 explosions are heard, a Times of Israel correspondent says.
Rabin Square is primarily filled with policemen at this point.
At least six cops are hurt, as well as several protesters.
Soldier who was assaulted condemns violence
Damas Pakadal, the Ethiopian-Israeli soldier who was assaulted by cops in an incident that sparked the anti-police protests, condemns attacks on policemen by demonstrators, Channel 2 reports.
Palestinian tries to stab soldier in West Bank
The army says a Palestinian assailant tries to stab an IDF soldier in the West Bank. No one is injured, and the assailant is arrested.
“Moments ago, two Palestinians approached an IDF force near the community of Yakir, one drew a knife and attempted to stab a soldier. The force on site neutralized the assailant, and the suspects were taken for investigation,” it says.
Protesters file back into Rabin Square
Protesters are filing back into Rabin Square. Many are chanting: “Police state, police state.”
20 policemen injured
Police say 20 cops are injured in the Tel Aviv clashes.
Police chief says violent protesters to be tried
“Anyone who resorts to violence, anyone that raises a hand on a citizen or on a cop — he will be tried,” Danino says.
“We understand the protesters,” he adds. “But we will not allow disturbances under any circumstances.”
‘It’s a riot, not a protest,’ minister says
In Tel Aviv, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich says: “It’s no longer a protest, it’s a riot.”
“I’ve never experienced this, and I have a lot of experience,” Aharonovitch says. “It’s a very difficult situation.”
He says he has been here for many hours, “and there is no one to talk to.”
“The moment there is no permit, the protest is not legitimate,” he says, echoing police commissioner Danino.
Aharonovitch concedes that “some of the claims against police are legitimate.” He says the number of incidents police brutality are increasing and the police “needs to examine itself.”
But tomorrow the prime minister will hold a meeting and these issues will be discussed, he stresses.
Police hurl more stun grenades
At least ten more explosions are heard in Rabin Square, as police hurl a new round of stun grenades at demonstrators.
Police release ‘skunk’ spray on crowds
Police release a foul-smelling ‘skunk spray’ on the crowds of demonstrators.
Dozens more explosions are heard.
Volunteer medic hit by stun grenade while helping protester
A volunteer medic treats a protester who is bleeding from his head.
While assisting the demonstrator, police hurl a stun grenade at the crowd gathered around them, hitting the medic.
The medic is injured in the blast, and is wheeled away on a stretcher by other medics at the scene.
— Judah Ari Gross contributed
‘There’s no room for violence,’ Netanyahu says
Netanyahu speaks to Aharonovitch on the phone and urges calm.
“We can evaluate all the allegations, but there is no room for violence or these violations of the law,” the prime minister says.
‘Our blood is just like yours’
An Ethiopian Israeli stands next to a pool of blood in Rabin Square, and remarks: “See our blood is just like yours.”
“You see that, that’s your brother you’re doing that to. That’s your brother you’re putting in jail,” another demonstrator comments to police as they carry out arrests.
Yet another demonstrator, who is not identified, says he should have joined a combat unit, because he says we fight all these wars, but this is the “real war.”
On the sidelines of the violent protest, and in sharp contrast to the explosions and yelling, Ethiopian Israelis are calmly speaking to bystanders about the problems of racism in Israel.
23 cops, 7 citizens injured
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says 23 police officers are hurt.
23 policeman injured in Rabin Square during demonstration when stones were thrown at them. Police units at scene controlling the situation
— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) May 3, 2015
Seven protesters are injured.
Police bring water cannon into square
Police bring a water cannon into the square and are spraying protesters.
Stun grenades are set off every few minutes.
According to Army Radio, there are still 2,000 protesters, 700 cops in the square.
Police carry cameras for ‘criminal identification’
Some police officers are carrying cameras for “criminal identification.”
A crowd surrounds the police’s water cannon truck in the square. One protester climbs up to take a picture of the driver.
Police proceed to douse the crowd and throw stun grenades. One person is injured.
Protesters break out in ‘Hatikva’
Protesters break out in the Hatikva national anthem. The water truck sprays them.
41 people hurt in protest
According to the Walla news website, 41 people are injured in the protest.
The report does not specify how many of the wounded are police officers and how many are demonstrators.
Former comish: Protests reminiscent of intifada
Former police commissioner Micki Levy says the night’s melee between police and protesters reminds him of the intifada — the Palestinian uprisings over the last several decades.
Hundreds of people still remain in the streets surrounding Rabin Square, though the large plaza itself is relatively empty.
Things have calmed down for the moment, with most protesters milling around and gathering on corners, though new scuffles could break out at any moment.
Protester seen with fresh wounds after arrest
A protester is arrested and taken away by police. His injuries are fresh and were not there before he was arrested.
While most protesters have left Rabin Square, some have climbed to the top of the iconic Holocaust memorial that sits at the south end of the plaza.
Police launch volley of stun grenades
Explosions ring out now in Rabin Square as police suddenly launch a large volley of stun grenades and shoot water cannons at scattered protesters, showing that the fracas is still lingering.
Protests mostly winding down
After about nine hours of intense protests, the demonstration seems to have mostly wound down, with just a couple large pockets of people left near Rabin Square.
A few hundred people remain in the area, roaming around and watching, as police attempt to disperse the rest of the protesters with water cannons and stun grenades.
Rabin Square, normally a placid island in the center of Tel Aviv is littered with broken glass, pieces of stun grenades and stones, the remnants of the intense battles between protesters and police that left dozens on both sides injured.
Police officials, blaming “anarchists” for the intense violence, say they will no longer allow unauthorized protests to get to this point, but will crack down on them right away.
Though some protesters linger, we are now closing the liveblog. Our coverage of the protest and its aftermath will continue through the night.