African protest
An African migrant boy holds a sign near Tel Aviv's Levinsky park on the third day of protestsReuters

An Israeli man has been charged of attempted murder for stabbing a one-year-old Eritrean girl near the entrance to the central bus station in south Tel Aviv.

Mordechai Michael Zaretsky, 59, attempted to kill the baby with a pair of scissors on 3 January.

The toddler was in her mother's arms when Zaretsky approached and stabbed the child twice in the face.

She was rushed to the Dana-Dwek Children's hospital in serious condition.

Zaretsky, who suffered from mental illness and was already convicted of violent crimes, admitted targeting the "black baby" because she was a "black terrorist".

"I hate them, they're black and they make a big mess," he said.

He told investigators that he hoped he succeeded "I didn't attempt to, I'm sure I killed her [...] is the w**re dead?" Zaretsky said.

He remains in jail pending the legal probe against him.

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.

African refugees marched for three days in Tel Aviv in protest at the Israeli government asylum policy.

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.