Ethiopian-Israelis and their supporters took to the streets across the country on Wednesday for a third day of protests in an outpouring of rage after an off-duty police officer fatally shot a black youth, and the Israeli police turned out in force to try to keep the main roads open.
The mostly young demonstrators have blocked major roads and junctions, paralyzing traffic during the evening rush hour, with disturbances extending into the night, protesting what community activists describe as deeply ingrained racism and discrimination in Israeli society.
Scores have been injured — among them many police officers, according to the emergency services — and dozens of protesters have been detained, most of them briefly. Israeli leaders called for calm; fewer protesters turned out on Wednesday.
“We must stop, I repeat, stop and think together how we go on from here,” President Reuven Rivlin said on Wednesday. “None of us have blood that is thicker than anyone else’s, and the lives of our brothers and sisters will never be forfeit.”
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On Tuesday night, rioters threw stones and firebombs at the police and overturned and set fire to cars in chaotic scenes rarely witnessed in the center of Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities.
After initially holding back, the police fired stun grenades, tear gas and hard sponge bullets and sent in officers on horseback, prompting demonstrators to accuse them of the kind of police brutality that they had turned out to protest in the first place.
The man who was killed, Solomon Tekah, 18, arrived from Ethiopia with his family seven years ago. On Sunday night, he was with friends in the northern port city of Haifa, outside a youth center he attended. An altercation broke out, and a police officer, who was out with his wife and children, intervened.
The officer said that the youths had thrown stones that struck him and that he believed that he was in a life-threatening situation. He drew his gun and said he fired toward the ground, according to Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman.
Mr. Tekah’s friends said that they were just trying to get away after the officer began harassing them. Whether the bullet ricocheted or was fired directly at Mr. Tekah, it hit him in the chest, killing him.
“He was one of the favorites,” said Avshalom Zohar-Sal, 22, a youth leader at the center, Beit Yatziv, which offers educational enrichment and tries to keep underprivileged youth out of trouble. Mr. Zohar-Sal, who was not there at the time of the shooting, said that another youth leader had tried to resuscitate Mr. Tekah.
The police officer who shot Mr. Tekah is under investigation by the Justice Ministry. His rapid release to house arrest has further inflamed passions around what Mr. Tekah’s supporters call his murder.
In a televised statement on Tuesday as violence raged, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that all Israel embraced the family of the dead youth and the Ethiopian community in general. But he added: “We are a nation of law; we will not tolerate the blocking of roads. I ask you, let us solve the problems together while upholding the law.”
Many other Israelis said that while they were sympathetic to the Ethiopian-Israelis’ cause — especially after the death of Mr. Tekah — the protesters had “lost them” because of the ensuing violence and vandalism.
Reflecting a gulf of disaffection, Ethiopian-Israeli activists said that they believed that the rest of Israeli society had never really supported them.
“When were they with us? When?” asked Eyal Gato, 33, an Ethiopian-born activist who came to Israel in 1991 in the airlift known as Operation Solomon, which brought 14,000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel within 36 hours.
The airlift was a cause of national celebration at the time, and many of the immigrants bent down to kiss the tarmac. But integration has since proved difficult for many, with rates of truancy, suicide, divorce and domestic violence higher than in the rest of Israeli society.
Mr. Gato, a postgraduate student of sociology who works for an immigrant organization called Olim Beyahad, noted that the largely poor Ethiopian-Israeli community of about 150,000, which is less than 2 percent of the population, had little electoral or economic clout.
He compared their situation to African-Americans in Chicago or Ferguson, Mo., but said that the Israeli iteration of “Black Lives Matter” had no organized movement behind it, and that the current protests had been spontaneous.
Recalling his own experiences — such as being pulled over by the police a couple of years ago when he was driving a Toyota from work in a well-to-do part of Rehovot, in central Israel, and being asked what he was doing there in that car — Mr. Gato said he had to carry his identity card with him at all times “to prove I’m not a criminal.”
The last Ethiopian protests broke out in 2015, after a soldier of Ethiopian descent was beaten by two Israeli police officers as he headed home in uniform in a seemingly unprovoked assault that was caught on video. At the time, Mr. Gato said, 40 percent of the inmates of Israel’s main youth detention center had an Ethiopian background. Since 1997, he said, a dozen young Ethiopian-Israelis have died in encounters with the police.
A government committee set up after that episode to stamp out racism against Ethiopian-Israelis acknowledged the existence of institutional racism in areas such as employment, military enlistment and the police, and recommended that officers wear body cameras.
“Ethiopians are seen as having brought their values of modesty and humility with them,” Mr. Gato said. “They expect us to continue to be nice and to demonstrate quietly.”
But the second generation of the Ethiopian immigration has proved less passive than their parents, who were grateful for being brought to Israel.
The grievances go back at least to the mid-1990s. Then, Ethiopian immigrants exploded in rage when reports emerged that Israel was secretly dumping the blood they donated for fear that it was contaminated with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.
“The community is frustrated and in pain,” said one protester, Rachel Malada, 23, from Rehovot, who was born in Gondar Province in Ethiopia and who was brought to Israel at the age of 2 months.
“This takes us out to the streets, because we must act up,” she said. “Our parents cannot do this, but we must.”