‘Crime is running rampant like a cancer that threatens to destroy our society,’ says Arab lawmaker.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will head a committee to address organised crime in the country’s Arab community, following a spate of shootings linked to organised crime.
Ten people were killed and others seriously wounded, among them a three-year-old, in seven separate incidents this week in Arab-on-Arab violence in Israel.
This week’s shootings bring to 96 the number of murders in the Arab community since the start of 2023, compared to 34 at the same time last year.
“We need to put politics to the side, get rid of divisions and work together to eradicate the criminal scourge,” Netanyahu said in a statement following a meeting with the Knesset’s majority Arab Hadash-Ta’al party on Monday night.
At that stage, three Arab men had been murdered in the previous two days. Since then, there have been at three more street shootings, all in Arab communities in Israel’s north.
Police sources said that several of the men murdered were associated with the Bakri family crime organisation, and four of those murdered had criminal records for trafficking weapons. Fighting between the Bakri and Hariri families has claimed over 20 lives in the past two years.
Arab party Hadash-Ta’al wants police to step up efforts against stolen military weapons being smuggled to the Arab street.
Senior party lawmaker Ahmad Tibi tweeted, “Crime is running rampant like a cancer that threatens to destroy our society.”
Six people were shot to death along with two others seriously injured in three shooting incidents in northern Arab-Israeli villages on Thursday. Those killed were all adult men, the injured included a gift shop owner and a three-year-old girl visiting the store with a parent.
A man from the Arab-majority town of Sulam, near Afula, was shot in the head on Wednesday in the northern city of Nazareth, outside a restaurant where he worked as a delivery man.
A man was killed in the aftermath of a shooting incident in the Bedouin village of Khawaled in northern Israel on Monday. Another person, 58 years old, was lightly wounded.
Two other men were shot late on Sunday and early on Monday in separate incidents.
Photo: Scene of the murder in Qalansawe on Monday (Haaretz)