Border Police to Fight Crime in Israel's Arab Communities

Prime Minister Bennett's announcement to transfer troops to the south to help curb crime follows three murders in three days in Israel's Arab towns

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A protest in Be’er Sheva against crime in the Negev, last week.
A protest in Be’er Sheva against crime in the Negev, last week.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Two companies of Border Police will be deployed to strengthen police forces in Israel's south as part of the country's effort to fight crime in Arab communities, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett ordered Wednesday.

The two companies from the Jerusalem District will be replaced by reserve troops in the Negev, after they undergo several days of training. Recruitment will begin Sunday.

Since the beginning of the year, 102 Arabs have been murdered in circumstances related to violence and crime in Israel, according to Haaretz's count.

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The decision to recruit new companies in order to transfer border forces to help curb crime in Arab communities was made around two weeks ago, in a meeting between Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and Internal Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev.

In a meeting of the Internal Security Committee Wednesday, deputy Minister Yoav Segalovitz, who is leading the effort to curb crime, called the situation "unbearable."

"This isn't just a problem for the Arab community. The country is several years late in dealing with crime. There is a broad public living in fear," he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, a 26-year-old was killed and a 24-year-old critically injured after a shooting incident in Umm al-Fahm. The incident marked the second murder in the city within 24 hours, and the third in an Arab town in the last three days.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned of the consequences of growing violence in the Israeli Arab community, as the cabinet voted to expand police search powers to fight the violence.

“We are losing the state,” he said at a cabinet meeting about the violence in the Arab community.

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