Arab demonstrators with black flags blocked roads on Wednesday, November 17, to protest governmental and police inaction in the fight to end the chronic, ongoing crime wave in Arab cities and towns throughout Israel. Demonstrators set out in a convoy of vehicles to Tel Aviv from Jaljulya in central Israel, where a day earlier a man was fatally shot and a second was seriously wounded at a cemetery in the Arab-Palestinians town. The two men were reportedly just outside the cemetery as a funeral had just concluded when they were gunned down. Joint List MK Osama Saadi (Ta’al), who was at the funeral, says the shooting was an ambush.
An ambulance at the scene of a deadly shooting at a cemetery in the central town of Jaljulia, November 16, 2021. (Magen David Adom)
According to Jaljulya’s mayor, Darwish Rabi (Hadash), many of the town’s residents had attended the funeral, and gunshots rang out at the end of the funeral procession. According to Rabi, the two men shot during the incident were not known to law enforcement nor are they involved in organized crime. “There is nothing that can provide an explanation for this terrifying event,” Rabi said. “The police talk about increasing security and deterrence in the Arab community; we in Jaljulya aren’t feeling it. Sometimes there is a lull in shootings, but this seems to be the decision of criminal elements rather than the result of pressure from police.”
Rabi continued, “If there really is a strategic decision to fight crime, then we’re waiting to implement it in practice. The fact that they’re talking about implementing such an operation every day doesn’t mean that something is actually happening in practice. How effective can an operation like this be when two men are shot in cold blood following a funeral that took place in the middle of the afternoon?”
The man killed in the shooting was later identified as Mahmoud Odeh, a father of two children with special needs. The actual reported target of the attack was Nadim Shteiwi, 32. According to reports, Shteiwi fled from the shooters in the direction of the cemetery, where he encountered Odeh by chance as the latter was leaving a funeral.
Since the beginning of 2021, 109 Arabs have been killed in suspected homicides in Israel, according to the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit. Of them, 91 were citizens of Israel, and another 18 were Palestinians, either from occupied East Jerusalem or with Israeli residency.