Hospitals in the Greater Tel Aviv area found themselves dealing with a mass casualty event on Saturday as a result of large-scale rioting by asylum-seekers from the African nation of Eritrea.
Doctors at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital called it the most chaotic and stressful situation since dealing with the aftermath of mass casualty suicide bombings during the Second Intifada.
The violence began when dozens of Eritreans opposed to the current regime in their home country demonstrated against an Eritrean Embassy event in Tel Aviv. As the event got underway, the demonstrators broke through the gate and began rioting. Police deployed to the scene felt their lives were in danger and opened fire, wounding three of the migrant protesters.
WATCH: Over 100 people were injured as protests in Tel Aviv by Eritrean asylum seekers against the East African nation’s regime turned violent.
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) September 2, 2023
Around that time, other groups of Eritrean migrants who support the regime in their home country began clashing with the opposition protesters, culminating in an hours-long street battle between the two sides, as well as with Israeli police, that ultimately saw over 150 people injured, 14 of them with gunshot wounds.
A large number of the wounded arrived at local hospitals with serious and moderate injuries from being stabbed or hit in the head with stones. Once at the hospitals, medical staff struggled to keep the two warring sides apart.
Over 30 police officers were attacked and wounded, and the rioters caused wide scale damage throughout Tel Aviv.
Some 25,000 Eritrean migrants live in Israel, most in the Tel Aviv area.
Israel will deport most violent rioters
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his security cabinet on Saturday evening to address the migrant riots. According to Channel 12 News, Israel will seek to deport any of the migrant demonstrators who attacked Israeli police officers.
Opposition leader Benny Gantz meanwhile said that under no circumstances could what happened in Tel Aviv be portrayed as legitimate protest. He further urged Israel to find a better way to deal with the problem of African asylum-seekers, which Israel is ill-equipped to absorb.
“What happened today on the streets of Tel Aviv was not a legitimate protest, but serious violence,” Gantz tweeted. “The perpetrators must be brought to justice, order must be restored, and lessons must be learned from the incident and overall damage to governance under the current government. All this, in addition to the need to formulate a policy that will deal with the problem of asylum seekers in the long term.”
Israel Today Membership
Save 18% Per Month.
Six Months Membership
Save 9% Per Month.