As violence rises in Arab community, PM says situation is finally resolved

With violence in the Arab community showing no signs of abating, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Monday the situation was being resolved after being previously ignored.

“We are dealing properly with the problems that we have become accustomed to – [the idea] that nothing could be done about them, that they are chronic – issues that are usually dismissed, ”Bennett said at a panel meeting on violence in the Arab community.

“Crime in the Arab community, in particular … quantities of illegal weapons sufficient for a small army – the arsenal that has accumulated and expanded over many years, must be emptied,” Bennett said.

“We are making a critical effort across the country against arms and ammunition,” the prime minister added, apparently referring to the seizure of weapons and the arrest of dozens of shooters for the last time in what the police billed it as the largest gun raid in Israel’s history.

His comments came following a massive brawl between two families outside Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva on Sunday evening.

The mayor of the southern city said on Monday that the government had lost control of the situation.

The mayor of Beersheba, Ruvik Danilovich, holds a press conference in the municipality building on November 15, 2021 (Flash90)

“There is civilian terrorism invading the country. Someone has to come and speak to the Israeli public, ”Ruvik Danilovich said at a press conference. “I expected the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Safety [Omer Barlev] to be [in Beersheba] this morning, because a very serious incident happened yesterday – a loss of control by the State of Israel.

“The Israeli government needs to wake up because the public is losing confidence,” Danilovich said.

Four people were injured in the brawl on Sunday, during which gunshots were heard, according to witnesses and footage from the scene.

Two of the injured men – who were stabbed – were treated in hospital for minor injuries. The couple are from the nearby Bedouin town of Rahat, police said. Two others were being treated for mild blunt trauma, the hospital said.

Eyewitnesses at the scene said dozens of young men were fighting and throwing stones, as gunfire was heard throughout the area. Police said officers arrested 19 suspects.

Earlier on Sunday, a man was killed and a second injured when they were shot dead at a construction site in the German colony neighborhood of Jerusalem, in what police reportedly considered a premeditated coup. Channel 12 news said all those involved were Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem.

According to Channel 12, police see the incident as an escalation of violence within the Arab community, with the shooting taking place in broad daylight in an upscale Jewish community west of the city.

A police officer at the scene of a shooting in Jerusalem on November 14, 2021 (Yonathan Sindel / Flash90)

Arab communities have seen an upsurge in violence in recent years, mainly due to organized crime.

Leaders and community members blame the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence, which includes family feuds, mafia wars and violence against them. the women.

Government officials and civil society experts say violence in the Arab community is the product of decades of state neglect.

More than half of Israeli Arabs live below the poverty line. Their towns and villages often have crumbling infrastructure, poor public services and few job prospects, leading some young people to collaborate with organized crime.

In August, Bennett said the violence and crime in Arab Israeli communities was a “national calamity.”

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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