Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich on Tuesday courted controversy when he suggested that it was “natural” to be suspicious of immigrants and minorities.
Speaking at a gathering of the Israel Bar Association in Tel Aviv, Alsheich noted that statistically, “immigrants are invariably more involved in crime than others.”
As such, Alsheich explained that “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.”
The police chief noted that he was referring not only to Ethiopian immigrants, but also to Israel’s Arab minority.
Alsheich later insisted that he “had no intention of offending Israelis of Ethiopian origin,” and had simply been stating the reality of the situation.
It didn’t take long for the remarks to elicit widespread criticism from across the political spectrum, with Ethiopian and Arab lawmakers demanding Alsheich’s resignation.