Hundreds protested for the ninth consecutive week against the violence plaguing Arab Israeli communities, as well as what they claim to be police inaction in the face of these crimes.
Friday’s main protest took place in the town of Jaljulya, where Mohammed Abed Alrazik Adas, 14, was killed in a shooting while sitting in his home on Tuesday.
Mustafa Hamid, 12, was also wounded in the shooting, which police believe was motivated by a feud between families, to which the two boys were not connected. This was the second protest in the town this week, and among the participants were many of the boys' classmates.
While most of the demonstrators were Arab, there were also many Jewish protesters, including some from organizations opposing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as local residents.
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The town's imam, Sheikh Jaber, told Haaretz that the community was shocked and outraged by the murder. "This demonstration is also directed at the police, for them to stand up and carry out its duty to eradicate this phenomenon, to curb the crime and the criminals and restore quiet, trust and residents' security," he said.
Residents also blocked off the road at the entrance to the city of Umm al-Fahm, which has been the main site of previous weeks’ protests. Hundreds of people, most of them youths, set out to protest on the main street after Friday prayers ended.
Police said that a few hundred protesters marched toward the city's police stations station, and then made their way to Route 65, blocking traffic. Some of the demonstrators returned to the police station from there, police said, and began throwing stones at officers.
According to their statement, police said that they will continue allowing for freedom of expression in accordance with the law, but will not tolerate riots.
Last week, over 10,000 people joined the crowds in the city to protest violence in their communities and the police response to it, as well as police brutality towards Arabs. They blocked off the main highway nearby, waving black and Palestinian flags.
Over the past year, 95 Arab Israelis have been murdered, the highest annual figure in the past 20 years. According to figures obtained by Haaretz, by October the police had solved approximately 20 percent of the murder cases in the Arab community in 2020, as opposed to 53 per cent in the Jewish community. In 2019, the figure of solved murders in the Jewish community was almost double that of the Arab community – 58 percent as opposed to 30 percent.
Two weeks ago, at an Umm al-Fahm protest, several protesters were wounded and one sustained serious injuries as police clashed with demonstrators. Eight police officers were also injured.