Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for a united front against racism after talks with leaders of the Ethiopian Jewish community.

"We must stand together as one against the phenomenon of racism, to denounce it and eliminate it," he said after a three-hour meeting focused on grievances within the community over police brutality and discrimination.

He also met during the afternoon with Damas Pakada, an Ethiopian soldier who was beaten by two policemen and whose assault was caught on video, triggering a wave of angry protests in recent days. 

More than 50 police officers and 12 protesters were injured in one of the most violent demonstrations Israel has seen in years.

Police used horses and stun grenades to try to control the crowds.            

Mr Netanyahu said: "I was shocked by the pictures that I saw. We cannot accept this and the police are dealing with it,"

He said: "We will have to change things," 


Mr Netanyahu said there was clearly "a deep problem" within Israeli society that needed to be resolved.

The Israeli police chief apologised for the assault on behalf of the police force. 

"When I saw the video, which speaks for itself, we immediately fired the police officer," he said. 

The footage showed Pakada being attacked by two men, both of whom appeared to be policemen.             

The 135,000-strong Ethiopian community, many of whom were brought to Israel on secret flights in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, is particularly on edge.
Besides confrontations with police, many complain about the difficulty they have registering their children at neighbourhood schools.

They also refer to the experience of having blood donations rejected by the health authorities citing the risk of disease.
Some Ethiopian Israelis have done well - many have successful army careers.

An Ethiopian woman won the Miss Israel beauty pageant in 2013 and an Ethiopian doctor has been cited as a hero of Israel's rescue operations in Nepal.
Ethiopian households earn 35% less than the national average and only half finish secondary education, compared with 63% for the rest of the population.
Israeli politician Avraham Neguise, one of a rising cadre of successful Ethiopian immigrants, urged his compatriots to rise above social obstacles, pointing at government assistance he said helped him to get ahead.