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A man wrapped in an Israeli flag gestures as Israeli Ethiopians, blocked by Israeli police, stand in front of Israel's Prime minister's residence in Jerusalem on April 30, 2015, during a protest to demand an investigation into alleged police racism and violence.THOMAS COEX/AFP / Getty Images

Damas Pakedeh, a 19-year-old Israeli conscript, was standing by his bicycle in the residential neighbourhood of Holon, south of Tel Aviv, last Sunday evening when the police officer approached him.

The young soldier in uniform had apparently been told to wait on the sidewalk while security dealt with a suspicious package up ahead. He had obeyed. But some time later, just as he reached for the cellphone in his pocket, Mr. Pakedeh was directed by the policeman to move back. The direction came with a physical shove, then a second.

The video from a surveillance camera on a nearby apartment building showed Mr. Pakedeh at that point seemingly questioning the police officer's direction. The young soldier was then met with another more forceful push and he and his bicycle were sent sprawling.

A wrestling match ensued with the policeman the clear aggressor and, with the arrival of a volunteer police helper, Mr. Pakedeh was thrown to the ground, kneed, punched and thrown into a wall at the side of a vacant lot.

The young soldier refused to stay down, squirmed out the grasp of the policemen and retreated further into the lot. Reeling away from the two officials, he picked up a large rock and made a threatening motion that indicated he was prepared to throw it if the police attacked him again. The surveillance video shows it was the only threatening motion made by the soldier in the entire episode and it came after the attack on him. The police officer appeared to grab hold of the handle of his firearm, which remained in its holster.

As more police arrived, Mr. Pakedeh dropped the rock (26 seconds after he picked it up) and is shown on the video saying something to the officers as he cautiously approached them.

The young man was arrested and charged with attacking the police. The first officer's statement said Mr. Pakedeh had turned violent when he was asked to show his identity card. The video shows no such thing.

What it does show is that Mr. Pakedeh is black, an Ethiopian Israeli.

He says he believes the only reason he was treated this way was because he was black. He is not alone.

As the surveillance video became widely viewed during this past week, anger in the Ethiopian Israeli community grew. Many say they have experienced similar treatment but never before had such an assault been captured so vividly on video.

The Tel Aviv police commander ordered the initial officer and the volunteer suspended from duty pending investigation. But that did not quell the growing unrest.

On Thursday night, more than 1,000 Ethiopian Israelis marched in the streets of Jerusalem, waving hand-made signs that called (in Hebrew) for a full investigation into alleged police racism and violence.

"Stop police brutality," signs said. "Today it's him, tomorrow it's you," read one large banner.

The crowd succeeded in closing Road 1, the highway to Tel Aviv, but when they marched toward the prime minister's residence, they were met by a phalanx of armoured riot police.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat arrived and urged the protesters to turn back. They ignored him.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went on television to assure people that justice would be done, but that violence was not appropriate.

The crowd threw rocks and bottles as the police fired tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons to drive back the protesters. They even sprayed the demonstrators with the foul-smelling liquid they call skunk. It was the kind of treatment usually reserved for the most determined Palestinian protests against Israeli occupation in the West Bank.

Five protesters and two police officers were hospitalized, officials said.

There are 125,000 Israelis of Ethiopian descent in the country, and every one of them over the age of 16 can probably recount examples of being victims of racial discrimination of one form or another. For some it's at the airport as they are singled out by security. For many it comes at the hands of the police. And for others it's having their Jewishness questioned, their children refused entry to religious schools.

In the West Bank city of Hebron, in 2008, I watched with amazement as a line of Israeli border police stood their ground against a surging tide of settlers trying to get past them in order to occupy a disputed property.

The border police are the ones called in to handle the toughest cases of unrest by Israelis in occupied and border areas. The men and women who fill these ranks are often less-educated Sephardi Jews or Druze. In recent years, some have been of Ethiopian descent.

On this day in Hebron, about every fifth policeman was Ethiopian and the young unruly settlers zeroed in on them.

One woman settler screamed at them, using a Hebrew word, kushi, that my translator told me translates as a vicious racist slur. The settler then spat on one of the policemen and doused him in fruit juice. "You're not even a Jew. How dare you try to stop us."

Remarkably, that man and every other one who was similarly assaulted stood their ground and stoically took the abuse.

Ethiopians came to Israel mostly in two waves of immigration – Operation Moses in 1984 and Operation Solomon in 1991. In both instances it was a matter of Israeli efforts to rescue Jewish communities in danger and quietly bring them to Israel. The leading Sephardi rabbi of the day blessed the operations and pronounced the immigrants members of the Jewish tribes and entitled to full Israeli citizenship.

In recent years, another 50,000 non-Jews from Eritrea and Sudan have sought refuge in Israel; many having made their way across the barren Sinai Peninsula, often on foot and often at the hands of high-priced abusive people smugglers. The inflow has been stopped now by a massive fence that stretches along the Israeli-Egyptian border from the Gulf of Aqaba to Gaza. The illegals already in Israel are mostly being held in camps awaiting deportation.

Some black Israelis say they have been mistaken for being one of those illegal aliens and that's why they are treated abusively.

Every one of the many Ethiopian Israelis I have met has spoken proudly of his or her Jewishness, but each harbours some anger for the way they are treated in the Jewish state.

This week they served notice they're not going to take it any more.