Report: Murder Rate Among Israeli non-Jews Far Outstrips Jewish Rate

Arab MK: ‘Figures show what we all knew – Arab society has become battleground, sense of security has vanished’

Israeli Arabs carry Palestinian flags during a march in the northern town of Sakhnin, October 1, 2016.
Ammar Awad, Reuters

The murder rate among non-Jews in Israel is significantly higher than the rate among Jews, according to a new report. The report, by the Knesset Research and Information Center, was compiled at the request of MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List). The figures were to have been presented on Sunday to the members of the Knesset Interior Committee ahead of a discussion of the issue to take place Tuesday.

A lack of personal security is a burning issue in Israel’s Arab community, due to the high number of violent incidents and the use of firearms and large number of injuries and deaths. Just last week a 17-year-old high school student was shot and injured by gunmen who entered the schoolyard in the town of Jaljulya.

According to the report, which covers the period from 2014 through 2017, there were an average of about 100 murders a year, with about 64 percent of the victims non-Jews. In the first half of 2017 alone, there were 77 murders out of which 41 (53 percent) of the victims were non-Jews. (Israel’s population includes 75 percent Jews, 21 percent Arabs and 4 percent non-Arab gentiles, mainly immigrants from the former Soviet Union who are not Jewish according to Orthodox religious law.)

The report states that in 2017, 72 Arab men and women were murdered. The figures further show that out of 397 attempted murders in 2014 and 2015, 212 of the victims were non-Jews (about 53 percent). In 2016, the gap had risen to four times the number of attempted murders of non-Jews compared to Jews. In the period covered by the report, 57 percent of the suspects indicted for murder were non-Jews. Between 64 percent and 84 percent of people charged with illegal possession of a firearms (in the cases made public) were non-Jews. In 2014, 314 indictments were served for purchase or possession of an illegal firearm, out of which 246 were served against non-Jewish Israelis.

In 2015, 282 such indictments were issued, 220 of which were against non-Jews, and in 2016, the number of indictments for illegal firearm possession rose to 296, 227 of which were issued against non-Jews.

“The figures show what we all knew – Arab society has become a kind of battleground and people’s sense of security has simply vanished,” Touma-Sliman said.

“The report is a harsh indictment against the authorities, and shows the result of years of neglect and discrimination in resources and funding,” she added. Touma-Sliman said a comprehensive emergency program was needed in which welfare, public security and education officials would work together to change the situation.