Thousands March in Tel Aviv Against Gov’t Inaction on Violence in Arab Community

Thousands of Jews and Arabs marched in Tel Aviv on Sunday in protest of the far-right government’s inaction amid a violent wave of crime in Arab communities. Demonstrators carried with them dozens of coffins symbolizing the 141 Arab homicides that have happened since the beginning of 2023 and many protesters dressed in white to commemorate the victims.

Hadash-Ta’al MKs joined the demonstration, which numbered some 8,000, including Ayman Odeh, Ahmad Tibi, Ofer Cassif and former lawmaker Dov Khenin.

Faten Ghattas, a leading member of the Communist Party of Israel, at the protest of the far-right government’s inaction amid a violent wave of crime in Arab communities, Tel-Aviv, August 6, 2023 (Photo: Zo Haderech)

The protestor came to the Habima Square and carried signs in Hebrew and Arabic as they march toward the Tel Aviv Museum. “In Israel, there is a strong and professional police force. If it wanted to, it could defeat crime in Arab society, but it doesn’t want to,” said MK Tibi, speaking at the protest. “When it wants to, it succeeds in Netanya, Nahariya and Tel Aviv in defeating crime, but the government relates to Arab communities as a backyard. When Arabs murder other Arabs, it hasn’t moved the government in past years, especially not this one,” he adds.

On Sunday, racist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionist Party) announced a freeze of some NIS 200 million that was earmarked to support Arab community, saying he is “re-examine” its use. This comes amid mounting pressure among Arab authorities over what they perceive as attempts by the coalition to weaken their standing through the halting of other budgets aimed towards development, transportation, infrastructure, education as well as reducing crime. This has culminated in threats to freeze the opening of schools at the beginning of September.

Many Arab communities currently lack classrooms and schools – approximately 305 are needed throughout the country – and part of the grant was intended for constructing schools.