Tackling an Increase in Violence in Arab Cities

20 April 2023

Photo credit: David Cohen

Since the start of 2023, 50 Israeli Arabs have been murdered. That is more than double the number over the same period in 2022. Indeed, last weekend alone four people were murdered —including an 11-year old boy named Mohammed in the Negev Bedouin town of Rahat.

Israeli news outlets have recently featured dozens of op-eds warning about the growing strength of organized crime in Israeli Arab society and the heavy price innocent victims pay when the police are overwhelmed. Reports on the problem have been compiled, in-depth analysis has been explored, experts and representatives of Arab society have formulated recommendations and policies, but the current government chooses to ignore all this, and instead, Netanyahu has installed the virulently racist Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir at the helm of the National Security Ministry, in charge of the police.

Ben Gvir openly espouses hatred towards Israel’s Palestinian-Arab community and has twice been convicted of supporting Jewish terror groups and inciting to racism. Under him, the Israeli police are allowing members of crime organizations to operate freely, putting everyone in the Arab public at risk. Ben Gvir’s position makes him responsible for the national security of all citizens, but he appears to be only interested in security for Israel’s Jewish citizens. 

The result is deep frustration in Israeli Arab society, where faith in Israel’s authorities and its ability to provide protection for basic rights of personal safety was lost long ago. How can Arab citizens be expected to join the call to defend democracy and the rule of law when it so often fails to defend them? 

The path to establishing a value-based democracy requires a united struggle for safety, equality, and democracy for everyone. It is NIF’s firm belief that all of Israel’s citizens and residents deserve to live in safety and security.