Photo Credit: FLASH90
Illegal firearms seized by Israel police in the Southern District, April 10, 2014.

Internal Security Omer Barlev on Wednesday morning referred to the government’s plan to eradicate crime in Arab society in an interview on Reshet Bet radio and said that the target is to drop the number of murders by at least 10% by the end of 2022. But he cautioned that since the police are acting more decisively, in the coming months there may actually be an increase in the number of murders.

“It won’t be a matter of weeks, it’s going to take months,” he said.


Amro Muhammad Mikdal Jabarin, 26, was shot dead early Wednesday morning in Umm al-Fahm. Another man, 24, who was with him in the vehicle was seriously wounded. This is the second murder in one of Israel’s largest Arab cities in one day, after Khalil Zhao—the sixth murder victim in his family in the past two years—was murdered in Umm al-Fahm on Tuesday. Eight people have been murdered in Umm al-Fahm since the start of 2021.

The draft plan that was prepared by the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday, was distributed to the relevant ministries on Tuesday. The plan includes details of an unprecedented integration of the IDF and the Shin Bet in the war on crime in the Arab sector. The draft also states that an inter-organizational intelligence-operational war room will be established, headed by the Israel Police with the participation of the Shin Bet, the IDF, and the Tax Authority. The new collaboration will target illegal weapons in Arab society.

Minister Barlev added that the Shin Bet’s share in the planned operations would be very limited. “There is no intention to engage them in crime prevention,” he clarified. “In cases where there’s a threat to the sovereignty of the State of Israel, the Shin Bet will collaborate with the Israel Police.”

Regarding the law that would give the police the authority to enter civilian homes without a court order, Barlev commented that “it’s impossible to behave according to the same rules and expect the outcome to be different.”

It’s the old, “You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.”

An estimated 400,000 illegal weapons are circulating in the Arab sector (the entire Israeli Arab population is estimated at 1.9 million) and not a night goes by without a series of shootings and incidents of violence recorded by police. In 82% of the murders in Israel in which weapons are used, the suspects are from the Arab sector; in 56% of the cases of attempted murder, the suspects are from the Arab sector; 44% of the inmates in Israeli prisons are from the Arab sector, and among the suspects who were arrested in 2019, 61% were Arabs (source: מדינת האין משטרה והפשיעה המשתוללת במגזר הערבי: גם בבית אנחנו לא מוגנים, קליעים יכולים לעבור דרך הבית וגם זה כבר קרה).

Considering that the Arabs are about 21 % of the total population in Israel, it is clear how huge the gaps are between the Arab and non-Arab populations in terms of involvement in criminal behavior.

The Israel Police will formulate within the next 30 days, with the consent of the participating organizations, a detailed work plan for the activities of the inter-organizational headquarters and will begin operating it within 60 days.


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