An angry Israeli mob has reportedly beaten a 23-year-old Eritrean refugee in Tel Aviv's new Central Bus Station, leaving him unconscious and on the verge of dying.
The young man's life was saved by Yosef Ganem, a police sergeant and medic who found the body of the Eritrean on the fourth floor of the station and tried to revive him.
"When I got there I saw the man sprawled out on the floor. He didn't have a pulse and he was unconscious," Ganem told Ynet news.
He gave first aid to the man and managed to get a pulse after several minutes. The Eritrean was rushed to the Ichilov Hospital while police backup forces were deployed to catch the assailants.
"I remembered what they looked like from the beginning of the incident," Ganem said. "I found them with the other officers and we arrested them. Two suspects had fled, so [we identified them] on security cameras and arrested them in their homes."
The six suspects, two of them minors, claimed that the refugee had tried to rob one of them but an ongoing investigation showed that they had attacked the Eritrean first with punches and kicks.
Israel regards its 50,000 Sudanese and Eritrean migrants as illegal job-seekers. Data published by the Population, Immigration and Border Authority showed that only four applicants have been granted refugee status in Israel in 2013 out of 2,593 applicants.
The legislation stipulates that those caught entering the country illegally could be jailed for up to a year, after which they are moved to a new detention facility.
Previous legislation, the Infiltration Law, allowed Israel to jail migrants for three years, pending a review of their refugee status, and set a 90-day deadline for detainees to be released.
It was overturned by the high court and replaced by a law that allows open-ended detention of migrants in a detention centre that can hold 400 people.