The Knesset Public Security Committee, chaired by MK Merav Ben Ari (Yesh Atid), received a briefing on Monday, September 13, from Deputy Public Security Minister Yoav Segalovitz (Yesh Atid) and the Director-General of the Ministry of Public Security Tomer Lotan on the national plan for confronting crime in Arab society.
According to Lotan, “Forty-two percent of inmates [in Israel’s prisons] are from Arab society. Over half the women who are murdered are Arabs. Forty-one percent of Arab young people are defined as ‘idle.’ The number of murders [in Arab communities in Israel] is three times as high as in Jewish society. A total of 61.5% of extortion cases are within Arab society, and 94.9% of shooting incidents in residential areas are shootings in Arab localities or neighborhoods.”
Lotan continued, “The basic elements for confronting all this are: targeted enforcement campaigns, increasing police presence in cities and on the roads, introducing advanced technological capabilities, preventing arms smuggling, expanding the legislative toolkit, enhancing intelligence capabilities, strengthening community resilience and economic enforcement against organized crime groups, including civilian enforcement of tax laws,” he said.
MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash – Joint List) a member of the committee said: “The time has come to deal with a painful issue that we have been talking about for many years. At least today, my ears have picked up that part of what we have been shouting about over the years and bleeding over has made its way into the plan. Someone has started to listen and understand that we will not bleed alone, and that crime and violence spill over into the entire population. The police are a tool to serve the citizens, and not just another tool to control and oppress society. If this change is not made, no trust will be established between police and the Arab public, and all the fine plans won’t do any good.”
MK Ahmad Tibi (Ta’al – Joint List) told the meeting: “The police are not making a sufficiently significant decision. Two billion shekels are not enough, because organized crime groups have more. A decision by the state is needed. We need preliminary treatment to prevent the final outcome in which a ‘soldier’ in an organized crime group shoots a civilian. The responsibility is heavy and the challenge is great.”