PRIME MINISTER PERES APOLOGIZES TO ETHIOPIAN COMMUNITY
Peres Prime Minister Shimon Peres sent an apology on behalf of the Government to Israel's Ethiopian Jews for the insensitivity of the decision made by Magen David Adom (Israel's equivalent to the Red Cross) to destroy all blood donations given by their community. The prime minister called the decision "foolish, sad, and irresponsible."
In a meeting with leaders of the Ethiopian community leaders in his office, Prime Minister Peres promised to establish a committee to examine all complaints of discrimination against them. Peres appointed Minister of Immigration and Absorption Yair Tsaban to coordinate the committee's activities. At the same time, Prime Minister Peres condemned the demonstrators for violent behavior against the police.
Eight thousand members of the Ethiopian Jewish community demonstrated Sunday, January 28, in front of the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem. Forty-one police officers and 16 demonstrators were injured during the course of the demonstration. Several of the police officers were injured severely.
Maj. Gen. Aryeh Amit, Commander of the Jerusalem Police District, said, "It was one of the most difficult days in my career." The commander added that if police had not used tear gas to disperse the demonstration, the demonstrators would have stormed the Prime Minister's office.
Maj. Gen. Amit added that the organizers of the demonstration promised that less than 1,000 people would participate in the demonstration.
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