Man Suspected of Shooting Dead His Mother and Brother in Northern Israel

'Everyone is united now to support the family,' Reineh council chief says after 51-year-old's arrest

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Police officers arrive at the crime scene in the Arab town of Reineh in northern Israel, December 3, 2020.
Police officers arrive at the crime scene in the Arab town of Reineh in northern Israel, December 3, 2020. Credit: Israel Police

A resident of an Arab town in northern Israel was arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting his mother and brother and seriously injuring another brother on Wednesday.

The suspect, 51 from Reineh, was arrested at the scene, and the police believe his motive was a family dispute. The investigative team recovered the weapon believed to have been used in the killings.

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Reineh council head Jamil Basoul says the family was not known to local authorities for a history of domestic violence or other problems. “The whole village is in shock. We can’t believe it,” Basoul says. “We never heard about any problems they had at home. Everyone is united now to support the family. We just can’t believe it.”

The three victims were shot in the family home in the afternoon. An emergency medical team transported the 73-year-old mother, Subhiya Tatour, and the 39-year-old brother, Salam Tatour, to the Italian Hospital in Nazareth, where both were later pronounced dead. The brother who was seriously wounded was transported to the hospital independently.

Subhiya Tatour (L) and Salam Tatour.

Haaretz reported in November that only about 20 percent of the murders in the Arab community since the beginning of the year have been solved, compared to 53 percent among Israeli Jews. In response, the police said they thoroughly investigate every violent incident without regard to the background of those involved “and invest a great deal of effort and resources to get to the truth.”

A team of ministry directors general headed by the acting director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Ronen Peretz, studied the issue of crime in the Arab society, and submitted its findings to the committee.

The report makes for depressing reading: crime rate in Arab communities has jumped 50% in the past five years, and the rate of criminal convictions for Arabs is double that of Jews. The homicide rate among Arabs is seven times the rate among Jews. In 2019, nearly 100 Arabs were murdered. This year is on track to approach that number, which includes last month’s shocking murder of a woman by her ex-husband in the middle of the street.

Arabs dominate Israel’s serious crime statistics. Despite accounting for just 21% of the population, they commit 93% of shooting incidents, 64% of murders, 47% of robberies, 61% of arson incidents and 56% of all cases involving unlicensed guns.

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