Police Slammed for Setting Low Goals in Fighting Arab Crime

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A demonstration by Arab mothers calling for government intervention in the violence in Arab communities in September.
A demonstration by Arab mothers calling for government intervention in the violence in Arab communities in September. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Israel's Public Security Ministry representatives were told after their presentation to the government on Sunday that the police's objective of reducing murders in the Arab community by 10 percent in 2022 compared to this year required a more ambitious goal, Haaretz learned.  

Police, who had presented a goal of 100 murders for 2022, are expected to present a revised goal by the end of November. The government allocated 2.4 billion shekels ($780 million) as part of the national five-year plan to combat crime and violence in the Arab community, on Sunday.

Under this plan, the government is consolidating a series of crime-reduction goals which police are supposed to meet by the end of 2022. Other measures were agreed upon for the next six months, including operations to locate illegal firearms.

So far this year 104 Arab citizens have been murdered, and that number is expected to climb by year’s end. Last year 97 Arab citizens of Israel were killed.

According to the government’s plan, the police will set goals in five separate areas: Arab public trust in the police; citizen’s personal sense of security; reducing homicides; solving cases in firearms dealing, murder and shootings; and increasing Arab reports to the Police’s 100 emergency hotline. Some of the criteria will be measured by in-depth surveys by the police among the Arab public in upcoming weeks, as well as early and late next year.

The plan also involves adding numerous security cameras throughout the mixed Arab-Jewish cities of Lod and Acre over the next year.

Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev has also set a list of goals for Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabbtai for 2022. One of them is dismantling three crime organizations in the Arab community. According to police estimates, there are currently five major crime organizations active in Arab society today, including two organizations that operate in the north of the country – the Abu Latif organization and an organization affiliated with the Hariri family.

Additionally, there are some 10 other mid-size crime organizations. Dismantling a crime organization is a difficult short-term objective, so the minister hopes that the police can bring about the collapse of the organizations, by inserting agents in them or by harming major revenue streams.

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