Bennett on Arab Sector Violence: 'We’re Losing the State'

Israel's cabinet also discussed a new amendment that will give police the right to conduct a warrantless search upon reasonable suspicion

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, this month.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, this month.Credit: RONEN ZVULUN/ REUTERS
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Sunday of the consequences of growing violence in the Israeli Arab community, as the cabinet voted to expand police search powers to fight this violence.

“We are losing the state,” he said at a cabinet meeting about the violence in the Arab community.

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The amendment, proposed by Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar, gives police the right to conduct a warrantless search upon reasonable suspicion that an object connected to a serious crime – including weapons and protection charges – is present. The power would only be granted in cases where the object is needed immediately in order to prevent it from being damaged or disposed of.

“We’re at war,” Sa’ar said at the meeting. “We must give the police and law enforcement authorities better tools to accomplish their missions. The right to life is also a human right. I’m letting you know: I’ll bring more laws so that we’ll prevail in the campaign against crime in the Arab sector.”

Following the cabinet’s approval of his proposal, Sa’ar wrote on Twitter: “I will continue to initiate legislation giving the state and its authorities effective tools to deal with crime, specifically the rising criminality in the Arab community.”

Last week, Police Northern District Commander Maj. General Simon Lavie said the Arab community in the north is involved in 99 percent of the murders and shootings in that part of the country, despite being only half of the Northern District’s 1.3 million residents. Lavie added: “We’re not in a struggle against crime in the Arab community. We’re simply at war, and we’re determined to deal with it.”

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