Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told police on Wednesday that the heads of crime organizations in Arab society should be brought to their "breaking point," adding "Maybe you'll kill some of them."
Touring the Bedouin town of Tuba-Zangaria in northern Israel, Netanyahu told police commanders tasked with combatting crime in Arab localities that they should act "in full force to bring crime ring heads to a breaking point."
"You'll catch [them], put them behind bars, maybe kill some of them," Netanyahu told the police commanders.
Public Security Minister Amir Ohana, deputy police Commissioner David Bitan and senior police officials also participated in the tour.
Since the beginning of the year, 24 people have been killed in violent incidents in Arab society.
Netanyahu added: “I want you to constantly tell the crime organizations – Who do you think you are? We will employ all the power of the State of Israel, all its technology, we will wage an all-out war against you.”
Speaking after the prime minister, Ohana said that “Some of the major crime instigators in the Northern District are based in Tuba-Zangaria, spreading crime to the entire region – Safed, Tiberias, the Galilee region and Golan Heights. It's organized crime,” Ohana said.
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Many protests have been held in recent months against the violence plaguing the Arab community, attended by both Arabs and Jews. On Friday, hundreds demonstrated in the Israeli Arab town of Jaljulya where Mohammed Abed Alrazik Adas, 14, was killed in a shooting while sitting in his home.
Mustafa Hamid, 12, was also wounded in the shooting that police believe was motivated by a feud between families, to which the two boys were not connected. The protesters carried signs saying: “You’re not doing us a favor,” and pictures of the two teens.
In another rally held this month in Umm al-Fahm, more than ten thousand residents of the northern Arab-majority town took to the streets to protest police brutality as well as gun violence in the Arab community.
According to a statement by Israel Police, some protesters set off fireworks and hurled stones at police officers.
Umm-al Fahm's Mayor Samir Mahamid said that the protesters gathered "in peace," extending his thanks to everyone who attended the protest.
The leader of the United Arab List party, Mansour Abbas was attacked by protesters. Locals pushed him forcefully, and called on him to leave the scene.
Abbas withdrew his faction from the Joint List aalinace of Arab parties last month, and has come under criticism over his refusal to rule out joining a government with Netanyahu.
United Arab List sources claimed that the attackers were members of rival Arab parties, but activists in Balad and Hadash denied this. The Umm al-Fahm municipality released a statement condemning the attack, but called the overall protest successful in terms of turnout.