The lead story is pretty compelling. You have unhappy people protesting in the streets against police brutality fueled by racism. The economic conditions in the area are marked by endemic poverty, lack of opportunity, and high crime rates that result. The streets are full of angry people and police in riot gear. Protests start out peaceful, but soon escalate to the point that bottles and rocks are hurled at the police. Dozens of people are arrested and many in the police force are injured. Police cars and other vehicles are set ablaze as are debris in the streets and buildings close to the center of action.
Is this a description of Baltimore last week or Tel Aviv right now? The answer is “yes.” It’s both.
Both were sparked by the beating of a man caught on video. In the Baltimore incident involving Freddie Gray, the beating ended in his death. The Tel Aviv case involved an Ethiopian Jewish man in an army uniform beaten by police right when the Baltimore protests were getting started. While American journalism was focused on an entertainment weekend of boxing and movies followed by the shooting at a “Draw Muhammad” event in Texas, the people in Israel are well aware of the similarities between their incident and the one in Baltimore as CBS News points out:
Activists told the station they don’t want violence to escalate to the level seen in Baltimore where the death of a man in police custody sparked riots. One man held a sign reading: “Bibi, you had better not let Baltimore reach Israel,” referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by his nickname.