Deadly Shooting in Lod Is Israeli Arab Community's 121st Murder This Year

Police have promised to tackle violent crime in Israel's Arab community, but the number of murders this year is higher than last year's record number

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The murder scene in Lod, Wednesday.
The murder scene in Lod, Wednesday.Credit: Ilan Assayag

A 48-year-old resident of Lod was shot dead overnight into Thursday, marking the 121st murder in Israel's Arab community this year.

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The police said they suspect he was murdered because he is part of a Bedouin family that is in a longtime feud with another family. It was Lod's fifth murder of an Arab Israeli this year. No immediate member of his family is involved in organized crime or a feud, however. The victim worked as a hired bus driver who is involved in a feud. 

"He was linked to crime only by way of his last name," said a relative. "No one in his family was involved in this feud and they took no side."

According to a police source, the victim as not directly involved in the family feud and had no involvement with organized crime, and may have been killed merely because he was a member of his family.

The shooting took place by a sign which read "a Lod police station will be created here," but according to a senior police official, there are no plans to create a station there soon. Over the past three years, four people have been murdered at this location, which in recent years has been covered in piles of garbage.

The Abraham Initiatives, an organization that fights for equality between Jews and Arabs in Israeli society, said that in addition to the 121 murders, nine Arab Israelis have died this year in incidents involving police. Fifty-eight of the murder victims were under the age of 30, it said.

According to the Abraham Initiatives, 96 Arab citizens were murdered in 2020, which until this year was the deadliest year on record for the community.

Police have increased their efforts to tackle the proliferation of firearms in Arab towns. Last month, police arrested 65 suspected arms dealers in an unprecedented sweep operation.

However, the country's police have regularly been criticized for their handling of violent crime. In a recent presentation to the government, police representatives outlined their plan to reduce crime in the Arab community by 10 percent in 2022.

After receiving blowback for their goal of having no more than 100 murders in 2022, Israel's Public Security Ministry Omer Bar-Lev was asked to present a more ambitious goal. The government also allocated 2.4 billion shekels ($780 million) as part of a national five-year plan to combat crime and violence in the Arab community.

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