Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich revealed on Tuesday, October 16, that the far-right government has cut NIS 400 million from the police plan to combat crime in the Arab-Palestinian national minority in Israel.
During a meeting held by the Knesset’s State Comptroller Committee about the issue of violence in Arab society, Alsheich presented statistics according to which there has been a “significant decrease in murders and shooting incidents in Arab society, from 77 murders last year to 40 this year,” he said. Nevertheless, the police chief added, “I’m worried about the budget in terms of the future. Not only has the government cut NIS 400 million in 2018, but the situation for 2019 does not look good at all, and the budget for 2020-2021 is entirely up in the air.”
The meeting came on the heels of a State Comptroller report published in August which revealed that, since 2000, there have been 1,236 fatal victims of violence in the Arab society in Israel. While 20% of the country’s citizens are Arabs, annually they constitute from 40% to 50% of those involved in violent crimes and murder cases among the total population , and their involvement in shootings is 95%, according to the State Comptroller.
Despite the figures presented by Alsheich, the Hadash MKs who attended the meeting sharply criticized the police approach to the Arab community. “When it comes to arms smuggling to the Arab sector, the police commissioner and the police have utterly failed. This means more weapons, more shooting incidents, more bereaved families,” Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash) said. “You, the police commissioner, look at us with a stereotypical eye, so this is the result. Shooting incidents are not part of our culture. The problem is the mentality of the police, not the mentality of the citizens,” she added.