Arab Masses March, Blocking Roads to Decry Deadly Crime Wave

Thousands of Arab-Palestinians in Israel held protests on Friday, October 4, just a day after holding a general strike over the wave of deadly criminal violence unaddressed by police within the their communities.

Protesters blocked Route 65 near the city of Umm al-Fahm, Route 70 in the region of Tamra and Road 444 near Zur Yitzhak – stretching from central Israel to its northern parts, Al-Ittihad the Arabic-language daily Communist newspaper reported. Demonstrations were held in several Arab and mixed cities and towns, including Nazareth, Akka, Haifa, Deir Hanna, Kafr Kanna, Tarshiha, I’billin, Taybe, Saknin, Shfaram, Tamra, Majd al-Krum and Kafr Qassim.

Protesters blocking Route 65 near the city of Umm al-Fahm, among them Hadash MKs Ayman Odeh and Youssef Jabareen

Protesters blocking Route 65 near the city of Umm al-Fahm, among them Hadash MKs Ayman Odeh and Youssef Jabareen (Photo: Zo Haderech)

Some of the protesters in Umm al-Fahm lay down on the roadway of Route 65, chanting, “Netanyahu, Arab blood is not cheap.” Chairman of the Joint List, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), who joined the demonstrations, wrote on Twitter, “We continue to take to the streets, and I call on the Jewish public to join the protests. A society without weapons is a civil and social goal for all of us.” Demonstrators across Israel carried signs with slogans such as “our children’s blood is not cheap” and chanted slogans about police inaction to step the gangland violence.

Hadash MK Youssef Jabareen of the Joint List, who joined protesters blocking a highway in the north of the country, said that the protests would continue until tangible action is taken on the issue. “More than a thousand protesters blocked the Wadi Ara road [Route 65] in protest of the rising violence and crime in Arab society and the outrage of law enforcement agencies,” he told Al-Ittihad. “We will continue to step up our public struggle and further intensify our steps in the coming weeks until we feel a change on the ground.”

More than 30,000 demonstrators marched in the Upper Galilee town of Majd al-Kurum on Thursday to protest violence in Arab communities and demand action from police and authorities. They carried signs reading “Violence – not on our streets” and “Living in peace has become a dream” as they passed the town’s police station. Many women, youths and children participated, many wearing black shirts as a sign of mourning. Since the start of 2019, 72 Arab-Palestinians have been murdered in Israel, a rate of 5.08 per 100,000 residents or more than 3.7 times higher than the overall rate of 1.36 per 100,000 residents for Israel as a whole.