A convoy of vehicles that includes Arab community leaders on Sunday morning drove out of the villages of Ein Mahil and Kafr Manda in northern Israel toward Jerusalem in protest of the government’s policy that “does not lift a finger to stop the violence in Arab society and neglects the treatment of crime.”
Since the beginning of 2023, 80 people have been murdered in Israel’s Arab society, a far higher number than in any previous year. Only eight of the cases have been solved. Some of the victims were killed over past conflicts among clans, others by members of their own families, and a few were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were killed by stray bullets, or were wrongly identified as a target.
Chairman of the Arab Monitoring High Committee, Mohammad Barakeh, told Haaretz on Sunday that “crime in Arab society is the result of a deliberate policy, designed to divert attention from political and national issues and focus it on personal security.”
Also: Arabs are a violent people, as Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai put it in a leaked recorded conversation about Arab violence with National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir: “Minister, nothing can be done. They murder each other. It’s their nature. It’s the Arabs’ mentality.”
This reminded me of what the Torah had to say about Ishmael, the father of the Arab nation: “He shall be a wild donkey of a person, his hand shall be raised against everyone else, and everyone else’s hand shall be raised against him.” (Gen. 16:12).
Ibrahim Hijazi, of the Islamic Movement, told News12: “The police remain silent and encourage crime and violence. It is our duty to mobilize, regardless of political affiliation. Crime is getting worse, and so it’s our duty now. This government does not want to see Arabs in this country.”
No one in the convoy suggested Arab leaders should start calling on their constituency to stop murdering each other. I would think, if politicians, religious leaders, intellectuals, and business people, went door-to-door and asked their Arab neighbors to stop killing one another, this would surely yield some reduction in Arab murders?
I heard one Arab leader on Sunday morning on Reshet Bet Radio saying if Israel’s Jewish society were hit by 80 murders in five months, the country would go to pieces over it, and, naturally, he’s right. Except that when a murder takes place in a Jewish neighborhood and the police show up to investigate, the Jewish neighbors, for some curious reason, tell them what they had witnessed, support the investigation, and most notably – they don’t fire on the cops, which greatly enhances police motivation, I’m told.
Seriously, though, it comes down to this: to remove the staggering number of illegal weapons from the Arab community, police must impose a lockdown on one village at a time, and go door-to-door with overwhelming power, to confiscate everything. The High Court of Justice would go after such a move before Ben Gvir could spell Drop your weapon.
Also, any serious attempt to remove illegal weapons from Arabs would surely result in shootouts between police and “civilians,” and the media would immediately be all over those bullying cops. Just as the media was all over Ben Gvir’s initiative to place the leaders of organized crime in administrative detention.
And so, I wouldn’t be surprised if on the same day that those angry Arabs are converging on Jerusalem someone would murder Arab victim number 81. It might even happen among participants in the convoy.