President Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin hosted on Sunday, August 16, four mothers of Arab citizens who were killed in criminal incidents in recent months. The mothers arrived at the President’s Residence in a protest march against violence and the failure of police to deal with crime in Arab communities. The march was conducted from Haifa to Jerusalem under the banner “Mothers’ March for Life.” The mothers are calling for a fight against crime in Arab society. The president stated, “This is not a struggle of Arab society alone. It is a struggle of all of us as a society, on all levels – in schools, colleges, and businesses. We must say ‘no’ to violence, ‘no’ to crime, ‘no’ to illegal weapons.”
The four bereaved women who were received by the President included Muna Khalil from Haifa who lost her 28-year-old son Khalil; Jazia Jabali who lost her son Saad murdered in Taibeh; Pardus Habiballah who lost her only daughter, 16-year-old Arub, run down and killed in a hit-and-run accident in Nazareth; and Kifah Agbaria who lost her brother Khaled, murdered in Umm al-Fahm. Joint List leader,
The Mothers for Life conducted their march during six consecutive days last week to raise awareness of violence in Arab society, calling on the state and the police to strengthen law enforcement within Arab communities in Israel. MK Odeh joined them for the full six days of the march.
Odeh told Al-Monitor website, “While the coronavirus paralyzed an entire country, the pandemic of crime and violence continues to claim dozens of victims every year. It is not fate. It is the consequence of a police force that considers us to be little more than their backyard. This week that backyard is marching to the capital so that people will have to look these families in the face, while we demand our most basic civic right — the right to life and security.” “There are no words to describe the willingness to sacrifice shown by these mothers leading the march for the legacy of their children. They are there to prevent the next generation from falling victim to this violence,” he said.
The march started out from Haifa’s Halisa neighborhood on Tuesday, August11, and ended on Sunday, August16, at President Rivlin’s residence in Jerusalem. On Saturday, one hundred protestors blocked the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway near Sha’ar HaGai, a major junction on the road leading to Jerusalem, as part of the Mothers March for Life.
Last year, Arab-Palestinians in Israel conducted a series of protests and strikes against far-right government and police failure to deal with violence in Arab communities. According to Abraham Initiatives, 51 Arab citizens have been murdered this year. In 2019, 89 Arab citizens, 79 men and 10 women, were killed in Israel.