Murder Rate in Israel Climbs 20% From Last Year

The police are having a hard time getting a handle on crime, an Arab legislator says

Mohammed Shinawi, accused of the murder of Guy Kafri, and two men accused of being accessories to the murder, appear in a Haifa court, January 30, 2017.
Rami Shllush

Murders in Israel have increased almost 20 percent from the same period last year, police sources said Monday, with a lawmaker saying the police were inadequately enforcing the law in Arab cities and towns.

So far this year there have been 53 murders, compared with 43 in the same period last year. Seven occurred in the last two months alone.

On Monday, MK Esawi Freige (Meretz) wrote a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasting Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich's and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s “failure to fight crime in the Arab community.”

Freige, an Israeli Arab, said this failure was so egregious that Netanyahu had to take charge. He said the situation had become a national emergency.

Last month Louis Amash, 23, of the Arab town of Jisr al-Zarqa in northern Israel, was shot dead and two of his brothers were hit. That brought the murder count in the village to five over the last two years, including 17-year-old Jabari Amash, who was stabbed to death.

Earlier in May, 27-year-old Ahmed Badi of Kafr Qasem was killed when unidentified gunmen shot at his car. Two weeks ago a man of around 40 was shot dead at the entrance of his house in Kiryat Ata by a gunman on a motorcycle. Last Thursday, Fadi Sarsur and Mohammed Amar were shot dead in the middle of Kafr Qasem on their way to the mosque.