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Violent crime wave continues in Arab-Israeli community, marking 100 murders so far in 2023

Arab Knesset members demand meeting with Netanyahu, who says he will involve Israeli security

Police at the scene where five people were shot dead in the Arab town of Yafa an-Naseriyye in northern Israel, June 8, 2023. (Photo: Fadi Amun/Flash90)

The deadly wave of violence in Israel’s Arab sector reached a record level over the weekend.

Following a criminal shooting on Friday in the Arab Israeli town of Yafa an-Naseriyye [Jaffa of Nazareth] – resulting in the deaths of five people, and the stabbing of a young Bedouin on Saturday – the number of Arab Israelis killed this year reached the 100-mark.

According to the Abraham Initiative anti-violence group that tracks violence in the country, at least 100 Arab Israelis have been killed this year.

The group says that is a significant rise in the number of murders compared to the same time last year, when 35 Arab Israelis were reported having been killed.

Police blame Arab criminal gangs for most of the deaths, claiming there has been a significant increase in the number of weapons over the last two decades.

However, Arab community leaders decry a lack of action by the authorities.

“Our demands are very clear. We want the crime to end,” Knesset Member Aida Touma-Suleiman told i24 News. “We want the police to act immediately against the organized crime and to collect all the weapons that are distributed in our society.”

Touma-Suleiman, a member of the Hadash-Ta’al Arab party, said that there “is no political will” for Israel to take dramatic action against violence in the Arab sector.

“We are not on the agenda of this government,” she said.

On Friday, a group of Arab lawmakers said they will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss a plan to combat the increase in violence among members of the Arab sector.

This morning, during his weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said he plans to involve Israel’s Security Agency, Shin Bet, to fight the rise in violence.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir announced that he will appoint a czar to oversee the fight against crime in the Israeli Arab communities.

However, Haaretz daily newspaper reported that representatives from the Hadash-Ta’al and United Arab List parties specifically requested that Ben Gvir and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai not attend the meeting between the Arab leaders and Netanyahu.

Several former police chiefs sent a letter to the prime minister calling on him to remove Ben Gvir from his position as national security minister, claiming he is “a tangible and immediate danger to the security of the State of Israel.”

The letter, which was sent by six former police commissioners and 42 deputy commissioners warn of the “impending collapse of the Israel Police.”

In the letter, the former police leaders asked for a meeting with Netanyahu, and like the Arab Knesset members, specifically requested that Ben Gvir not be present.

Ben Gvir and Shabtai have sparred publicly several times.

Former Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi called for Ben Gvir to be removed and said that Shin Bet will not be able to work with Ben Gvir, due to a lack of security clearance.

“The Shin Bet will not reveal what it knows when Ben Gvir is present in the room,” Karadi said.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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