Masked Assailants Shoot at Home of Mayor of Israeli Arab Town

The mayor, a member of Likud, was not injured and says he never got a single threat since taking office in 1998

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Shfaram mayor, Ursan Yassin.
Shfaram mayor, Ursan Yassin.Credit: Moran Maayan

Israel Police are seeking masked shooters who fired at the home and car of the mayor of Shfaram, in northern Israel, on Saturday night.

Mayor Ursan Yassin, who was not injured, told Haaretz that he had not received threats and that he did not know why the shots had been fired. He added that according to security camera footage, the shooters were young masked men on a motorcycle.

Yassin said he heard a burst of shots outside his house around 1:30 A.M. “I went down and I saw they had shot up my car – the windows, the tires. But I’m healthy, and that didn’t deter me,” Yassin said. “I’ve been the mayor for three terms already and I never received a threatening phone call. I believe in what I’m doing and I will continue to do so. It’s possible that some residents might not like it.”

After people heard about the shooting, “over a thousand people came to support and stand with me. I thank them,” Yassin said. He believes the young men were sent to his house by others, but stressed that he did not know who was behind the incident.

Yassin is a member of Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud, and is close to senior officials in the party. He was first elected mayor in 1998, defeating the incumbent, his father-in-law, Ibrahim Nimr Hassin. He served as mayor for two terms, lost the election in 2008, and then was elected once again in 2018.

In the past, he has said that Shfaram, a majority-Muslim city of over 40,000 residents that also has a large Christian Arab and Druze population, should participate in Independence Day celebrations. Over the past two years, gun violence and other violent incidents have increased in Shfaram, including murders and shootings at homes and property. Residents said in those cases they feared that criminal elements from outside the city were infiltrating it.