Arabs Responsible for '99% of Murders' in Israel's North, Says Police Officer

Israeli Arabs are 'responsible for 99 percent of the murders, 99 percent of the shootings, 65 percent of the arsons and 80 percent of the robberies,' said Israel Police Northern District commander

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
Maj. Gen. Shimon Lavi at a meeting of the state commision on the Mount Meron disaster in Jerusalem, on Sunday.
Maj. Gen. Shimon Lavi at a meeting of the state commision on the Mount Meron disaster in Jerusalem.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

Israeli Arabs in the north are responsible for 99 percent of the murder and shooting incidents, said Superintendent Shimon Lavi, Northern District commander of the Israel Police on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Galilee in the Center conference in Acre, Lavi noted that 50 percent of the 1.3 million people living in the north are Israeli Arabs before asserting, “That 50 percent is responsible for 99 percent of the murders, 99 percent of the shootings, 65 percent of the arsons and 80 percent of the robberies.” Lavi added, “We are not in a fight against crime in Arab society, we’re in a war, and we are determined to take care of this.”

LISTEN: How China can quietly take over Israel, according to former Mossad chief

In his remarks, Lavi referred to several recent incidents of violence in the north, including the death of a 28-year-old from a stray bullet earlier this week in the village of Ilut, and clashes that broke out between police officers and wedding guests in Deir al-Assad in June.

“I’m keeping half an army in Ilut now because if I leave, there will be a bloodbath,” he said. “The same thing in Deir al-Assad. If I’m not there – it won’t end well.”

Regarding Tuesday’s incident, in which a 27-year-old Galilee resident staying in a shelter for battered women was abducted by her four brothers, Lavi commented, “This is a routine kind of incident for us, but if we hadn’t reacted in time she wouldn’t be alive.”

A police road block in northern Israel, last month.Credit: Gil Eliahu

The brothers were apprehended after a police pursuit. Lavi also said the police have foiled “more than a few murders, including some in which the intended victim was not aware that someone was out to kill him.” He added: “We can feel the support. I feel that the discussion of the crime problem in Arab society has gained momentum because people realize it’s not just a problem for the Arab community, it’s a problem for the whole country. And if we don’t wake up in time, it will reach other places.”

Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev said at the conference that the violence in Arab society “did not come out of nowhere” but rather arose as a consequence of “a years-long process of crime families taking over due to government neglect of the Arab communities and mixed cities.”

Bar-Lev stated that frustration, discrimination and anger can provide fertile ground from which weeds will grow. He added: “It wasn’t until the violence from the crime families crossed municipal borders and struck Jewish society in the mixed cities and everywhere else that everyone woke up. The crime must be dealt with, and it is just as important to remedy the neglect and inequality.”

Violence in the north continued overnight Wednesday, when two people were wounded, and a man was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in the Lower Galilee, bringing the number of murder victims in Israel’s Arab community to 99 this year. The three were taken to Poriya Hospital in Tiberias, where 45-year-old Jihad Hammoud was pronounced dead.

The perpetrator escaped the scene and the police set up roadblocks across the area of the Arab local council of Deir Hanna. The shooting appears to be criminally motivated. Hammoud was known to the police and had been involved in gun-related offenses.

On Monday, Umm al-Fahm resident Ganem Fahmi Jabarin, a 43-year-old lawyer, died of his wounds, becoming the 98th victim of the year. He had been shot after leaving Friday prayers at a local mosque in that city. Police suspect he was shot as part of a family feud, but no suspects have been identified.

Adi Hashmonai and Jack Khoury contributed reporting.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid Is the Most Israeli of All

An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

An anti-abortion protester holds a cross in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Roe v. Wade: The Supreme Court Leaves a Barely United States

A young Zeschke during down time, while serving with the Wehrmacht in Scandinavia.

How a Spanish Beach Town Became a Haven for Nazis

Ayelet Shaked.

What's Ayelet Shaked's Next Move?

A Palestinian flag is taken down from a building by Israeli authorities after being put up by an advocacy group that promotes coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis, in Ramat Gan, Israel earlier this month

Israel-Palestine Confederation: A Response to Eric Yoffie