Dozens Protest After Seven Weekend Shootings in Israel Claim More Arab Victims

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People protest in front of Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev, today.
People protest in front of Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev's home, today.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

Seven shooting incidents in the Arab community over the weekend took the total number of Arab victims of crime-related violence to 93 this year. 

On Saturday, dozens gathered in front Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev's home in the town of Kokhav Ya'ir to protest Israel's insufficient handling of the rising violence in the Arab community.

Earlier on Saturday, police set up road blocks at the town's entrance stopping protestors from getting to the minister's home.

Umaima, a protestor and teacher form Taibeh said she hears gunshot from house every night: "It will spread everywhere. The police have to protect all citizens regardless of nationality or religion."

Ahmed al-Jarjawi, 30, was shot to death in Be’er Sheva

"They don't want us to protest, but nothing can scare us. We bury people every day," another protestor, Bilal Josef, said. 

Standing Together, a Jewish-Arab grassroots movement, whose members joined protestors on Saturday, issued a statement saying "All of our lives are important, Arab lives as much as Jewish lives, and it's time the government understood that. At this time, not enough is being done to eradicate this violence and bring safety to the Arab community in Israel."

A 43-year-old woman was shot on Saturday evening at the Bedouin town of Lakiya. Police investigate whether the shots were directed in toward the woman or if it was stray-fire that caused her injuries.   

On Saturday, 30-year-old Ahmed al-Jarjawi from the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom became the 92nd victim of the wave of violence, after he succumbed to a gunshot wound he sustained in the city of Be’er Sheva on Friday. 

Al-Jarjawi was evacuated to Soroka Medical Center, along with a 25-year-old man who had been moderately injured in the shooting. The police launched an investigation and are still searching for suspects.

Al-Jarjawi had been convicted in the past of gun-related crimes, and police believe his murder is linked to a family feud that has been going on for over a decade. Al-Jarjawi’s father was also murdered back in 2013.

On Friday, a 55-year-old man was shot dead in Nazareth. The man, Naim Suri, recently finished his 32-year sentence for murder among other offenses. He was released from prison four months ago. Police have opened an investigation into the incident, which they believe to be related to a dispute between street gangs.

Also on Friday, police began to investigate a shooting incident in Umm al-Fahm. Shots were fired at a vehicle, seriously injuring a 6-year-old. He was accompanied by his 26-year-old uncle, who was moderately injured, and his aunt, 19, was mildly injured.

The man and his nephew were evacuated to Haemek Hospital in the northern city of Afula for medical treatment. The boy remains in critical yet stable condition in the pediatric ICU. The doctor treating the boy said he was admitted with life-threatening injuries. "We put him on a ventilator then stabilized and sedated him before he was rushed into surgery."  

On Saturday, a security guard was shot and seriously wounded in Kafr Qasem. The shooting is assumed to be related to criminal gang disputes as well. Magen David Adom emergency services reported that two people were wounded in that incident.

The guard was taken to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa and the other person was taken elsewhere by private persons.

In south Tel Aviv, a 30-year-old Bedouin man was shot overnight into Saturday, suffering moderate injuries. The police have arrested three suspects from the Bedouin community and believe that the motivation for the crime is criminal. 

According to figures collected by Haaretz, the 92 murders in the Arab community this year comprise 71 percent of all murders in Israel. Eighty percent of these murders involved firearms.

Last month, 14 murders within the Arab community matched the record-breaking months of January and August. Despite the  numbers, police find it difficult to solve these cases. Only 21 percent of murder cases in the Arab community were solved, compared to 50 percent in Jewish communities.

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