MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), the leader of the Joint List vowed Saturday, September 21, that tackling crime in Arab communities would be his main priority in the new Knesset, a day after four people were shot dead in crime-related killings just three hours apart in northern Israel.
Friday afternoon, Edib Dirawi a 38-year-old man was murdered while driving through the main square of Kafr Yasif in the western Galilee. Unknown persons had lain in wait for him and shot him at close range in broad daylight.
Three hours later, police announced another suspected murder in the village of Musmus, in the Wadi Ara region. The body of Iyad Badir, a 35-year-old man was found in a bullet-riddled car in the village. Toward midnight, Ibrahim a-Sa’di and Bian Bashkar-Dalya were murdered during a wedding in the Arab-Bedouin town of Basmat Tab’un in northern Israel. The murders of the four brought the number of deaths by homicides in the Arab community this year to 62.
“The elections are over but the plague of crime in the Arab community continues. Four deaths in two days,” tweeted Odeh. “This will be the first issue we deal with,” Odeh said. “We have no choice but to bring security back to our streets and [allow people to] live in a society without weapons.”
Last August, State Comptroller Matanyahu Engelman noted that security forces have failed to gather illegal weapons in Arab society, which, he said, led to an increase in the number of homicides among the population. According to the comptroller, 1,236 Arab men and women were murdered in the period 2000-2017. In 2016, 30 Arab women were murdered, which was 42% of the total number of women murdered in Israel that year.
It should be noted that the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, and the heads of the Arab authorities and Knesset members, recently organized protest demonstrations to put pressure on police to fight organized crime in Arab society, among other things. The protests were held all over the country and a rally took place in front of the Jaffa police station.
“Arab citizens’ sense of personal security is radically decreasing, to the point that many residents fear to leave their homes in the evening hours, afraid they will be hit by errant or intentional fire,” said Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen (Hadash). “It feels like we are on the verge of a civil war.”
“According to data from the Public Security Ministry, out of 520 shootings in Umm al-Fahm over the past three years, only six indictments have been filed — an outrageous rate of one percent,” Jabareen said. “Most of the shootings and crimes don’t get solved. This demonstrates the helplessness of law enforcement authorities,” he pointed out. “These grave numbers only serve to bolster criminals’ working assumption that they can continue acting as they see fit, terrorizing and denying residents of their basic rights for security and property, without worrying about law enforcement.”
Jabareen accused authorities for the deadly internal violence within the Arab communities in Israel saying, “As long as the police don’t prove otherwise, I hold them responsible for not acting to eradicate the violence, motivated as they are by the outrageous rationale of ‘divide and rule,'”