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PM Bennett launches plan to fight crime in Arab sector

CM 11/08/2021

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett launched a plan to combat crime in Arab-Israeli society and inaugurated a designated department to handle the issue at the Kiryat Ata police station on Wednesday.
The prime minister stressed that the new government is “determined to act and fight tirelessly, persistently and consistently, with all its might against crime and violence in Arab society.”
The new plan will include a number of measures to increase the police presence in Arab localities and on nearby roads, including the addition of 1,100 positions to Israel Police and new police stations. The plan will also provide economic and integrated enforcement against criminal organizations and the implementation of advanced technologies to support enforcement and prevention efforts.
Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev added that the plan to combat crime in Arab-Israeli society would include legislation, the dismantling of crime families and that the government would work alongside Arab-Israeli leaders.

Bennett also announced that the police had completed Operation Sword’s Blow on Wednesday, in which dozens of illegal weapons were seized and dozens of suspects were arrested simultaneously from over 200 locations around the country, including Ar’ara, Rahat and Kfar Kana.
The announcement of the new plan comes after five Arab citizens were murdered in one week in Israel.
“At the end of one of the most painful and bloody weeks in Arab society, in which five Arab citizens were murdered in circumstances related to violence and crime, the launch of the Crime Prevention Division (CPD) with the participation of the prime minister, the internal security minister and senior police officers is very symbolic,” said the Abraham Initiatives organization on Wednesday. “It is to be hoped that the establishment of the department will herald a change in the fight against crime, but only the test of results is important.”
The organization stressed that “a solution to the scourge of violence will not come from policing and enforcement alone, and the treatment of the deep causes of the phenomenon of violence and crime must also be advanced, as we have repeatedly demanded and in line with the director-generals’ report published about a year ago.”
The Abraham Initiatives added that the NIS 1 billion budget set aside for civilian aspects of eradicating violence is a step in the right direction, but won’t be enough to address deep factors.
The Personal Security Index report published by the Abraham Initiatives organization last year stated that widespread reform throughout all branches of the government is necessary to combat increasing violence and insecurity in Arab-Israeli communities.
Abraham Initiatives co-CEO Amnon Be’eri-Sulitzeanu told The Jerusalem Post at the time that “violence and crime is the outcome, the manifestation, of a systematic neglect and discrimination and underdevelopment of the Arab community and Arab citizens in Israel for many decades.”
The root of the problem can be traced to education, housing, employment and a lack of recreation, sports and cultural facilities, he said.
While policing and enforcement are important and also need to be improved, “policing is only the Band-Aid” and only deals with issues after they become issues, he said. “To prevent and to change the root causes, the Israeli government needs to develop and execute a long-term plan that includes almost all of the government ministries and agencies.”
Some 69 Arabs have been killed in violent incidents since the beginning of the year, including 57 citizens and 12 non-citizens, according to the Abraham Initiatives. Some six Arabs have been killed by police.
Of those killed, 10 were women and 34 were under the age of 30.
Some 113 Arab-Israeli citizens were murdered and hundreds were wounded in 2020, according to advocacy groups. In comparison, 89 Arab citizens were killed in 2019.
In 2019, Arab-Israelis conducted a series of protests and strikes against government and police failures to deal with violence in Arab communities. Similar protests occurred in 2020 as well.
As of April, 2021, there were 1,966,000 Arab citizens of Israel, comprising 21.1% of the population. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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