Israeli Shot Dead Is 101st Victim of Violence in Arab Community This Year

Only a day after the violence epidemic in the Arab community claimed its 100th victim, a 25-year-old man was gunned down in northern Israel

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The murder scene in Umm al-Fahm, on Tuesday.
The murder scene in Umm al-Fahm, on Tuesday.Credit: Police Spokesman

A 25-year-old male was shot and killed on early Tuesday morning in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, raising the death toll of violence victims in Israel's Arab community to 101 since the beginning of the year.

The man, Khalil Abu Ja'u Agbariah, sustained critical gunshot wounds and was evacuated to Haemek Hospital in Afula, where he was pronounced dead.

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The shooting occurred as Abu Ja'u Agbariah, a father of two, was on his way to work. He is the sixth member of his family to be murdered in the past two and a half years.   

The police have opened an investigation into the incident and are searching for the shooter.

>>> Israel’s other epidemic: Violence in Arab community threatens entire country

On Monday, a 44-year-old male from the Arab town of Bi'ina, Salim Hasarma, was murdered by gun fire. Hasarma did not have a criminal background, however his family had an ongoing dispute with another family in the town, and the assumption is that this is what led to the shooting.

Hasarma realized that a car was following him while he was driving to work, so he tried to escape and ended up parking by a house in the area. The shooter then shot him from close range and fled the scene. Harma's brother, Ibrahim, was murdered two years ago, and no suspects have yet to be found.

Speaking today at a national security conference in Tel Aviv University, Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev told researchers "inequality and disregarding [Israeli Arabs’] struggles… account for the intensification of crime." He added: "the police have lost their deterrence, the State of Israel has lost its deterrence." 

Bar-Lev stressed that the assumption that the Arab sector's problems and rising criminal activity don't affect the rest of the country needs to be dealt with immediately, and the civil unrest during May's conflict with Gaza "revealed in full force the deep crisis of confidence that has existed for a long time between Israel’s Arab citizens and governmental institutions."

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.

The amendment, proposed by Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar, gives police the right to conduct a warrantless search upon reasonable suspicion that an object connected to a serious crime – including weapons and protection charges – is present. The power would only be granted in cases where the object is needed immediately in order to prevent it from being damaged or disposed of.

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