Violent protests erupt throughout Israel after officer fatally shoots an Ethiopian-Israeli youth

Reeling from the tragic loss of Solomon Tekah, a young Israeli man of Ethiopian descent, thousands within the Ethiopian-Jewish community took to the streets across the country to protest police brutality, which is a long-standing conflict in Israel.

Tekah was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer early last week. Reports aren’t clear on what actually happened. The off-duty officer who fired the fatal shot claimed to have fallen under attack by a group of youth (including Tekah) when they started throwing rocks at him.

Demonstration of Ethiopian residents in Tel-Aviv, People of Israel | Source: Wikimedia Commons

We’ve heard the officer requested emergency backup four minutes before he shot Tekah. Other witnesses claim the officer instigated the teens and pulled the trigger in cold blood.

The policeman himself was injured during the incident and was treated and released from the Carmel Medical Center in Haifa. He was arrested and remains under house arrest pending further investigation.

Over the weekend, following Tekah’s funeral attended by hundreds of mourners, protests turned violent. While the numbers continue to change, we know more than 47 officers have been injured. And there have been over 60 arrests.

My heart aches at the tragic loss of life and the division among the Jewish people. Especially given the extensive work Jewish Voice does in Ethiopia, even helping Ethiopian Jews move to Israel in years past.

There are simply no easy answers. We may never know what actually happened in the park that day when Tekah’s life was taken. But we do know he is gone. And we mourn with his family and the Ethiopian-Jewish community in Israel.

This is a painful and tragic reminder of the suddenness we all face in our life and existence. That we are never promised a tomorrow. That life can end at the blink of an eye.

I don’t know what Tekah believed prior to his death. I don’t know if he believed in Yeshua (Jesus) as his Messiah.

And I’m moved to act more fervently, with greater intensity, to present Jesus as the Messiah to the Jewish people. Now more than ever. Because in view of eternity, our lives are a mere vapor. We have such a short amount of time to do all that God has called us to do.

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