Sunday, January 15, 2012

67 percent of murder cases in 2011 involved Israeli Arabs

Joint effort by Public Security Ministry and police aims to improve individual and communal safety in the non-Jewish sector • Special police units stationed in predominantly Arab towns of Taybeh and Nazareth.
Itzik Saban

In 2011, Israeli Arabs were in involved in 67 percent of Israel's murder cases, even though the Arab sector comprises only 20% of Israel's population.

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Yisrael Beitenu) was to present this statistic to the Cabinet on Sunday as part of a long-term strategy – a joint effort by the police and Public Security Ministry - aimed mainly at improving individual and communal safety in the non-Jewish sector.The plan, which was presented to the prime minister a few days ago, was to be shown to the rest of the Cabinet on Sunday. Aharonovitch was also to present the recent efforts made on the civilian front as well as by law enforcement agencies to minimize the phenomenon.

Within the framework of the plan, special units were created and stationed in the predominantly Arab towns of Taybeh and Nazareth, while an effort was made to reinforce and strengthen local and municipal police forces.

Israeli Arab MK Jamal Zahalka (Balad) told Israel Hayom, "I lament the fact that the Cabinet has chosen to focus on the police issue, though it is one of the most pressing issues [facing the Israeli-Arab sector]. The issue of crime cannot be resolved without a comprehensive program involving education, employment, sport, welfare etc."

"The police issue is the most pressing because the Israel Police are neglecting the problem of crime in the Arab sector. There is discrimination: a murder in [the Arab village of] Umm al-Fahm is not treated the same as a murder in Tel Aviv. The situation is dire and constantly deteriorating. Specific and rapid action is required. Just as the police were able to eradicate the crime in [the Jewish city of] Netanya, they can also eradicate it in Israeli-Arab communities," he added.

"A political decision must be made, and for that reason this issue is on [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's agenda, for him to make a decision. I hope that he will decide that the current situation is unbearable," he continued.

"If the Cabinet makes a decision, the Arab leadership will be there to support it, but if we're talking about nothing more than more deception, we won't be there. Israel's Arab society is entrenched in deep crisis due to the widespread crime. The tools we [Israeli-Arab politicians] possess to combat this problem are few and weak. All the effective tools are in the government's hands. They need to give the tools, in the form of jurisdiction and budgets, to the local authorities. There are ways to combat crime in the Arab sector, and it is time to do it," he concluded.

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