Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
MK Ayman Odeh

Israel has increased security protection for Israeli Arab MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Hadash-Ta’al faction, in response to death threats following his remarks slamming criminal violence in the Arab community.

Odeh was informed of the threats on his life by the Knesset security service.


“Our demonstrations have started to upset the criminal organizations,” Odeh told Israel’s Channel 12 News on Saturday.

“The formula is clear: it’s either our community, or the criminal gangs, and we will defeat them,” he emphasized.

“I again appeal to law enforcement and the government: Eradicate crime in Arab society, because you are not doing enough,” he added.

Odeh was informed of the threats on his life by the Knesset security service.

In response, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in his opening remarks to the weekly cabinet meeting that his government is cracking down on crime in the Arab community.

“The Israeli government is determined to fight the criminal organizations in Arab society,” he said. “This is a blow to the entire country.”

Netanyahu noted that there was “another scourge” in the Jewish State – that of the crime families in the Jewish population.

“It took us years. Do you remember these organizations? With all the famous names? We eliminated most of them in a determined and systematic operation over time,” he said. “We eliminated the majority of the organized crime in the Jewish sector. This is what we intend to do in the Arab sector as well.

“We believe that all the citizens of Israel, Jews and non-Jews, Jews and Arabs deserve to live in security, and certainly not under the reign of terror that most of our Arab citizens are currently living under,” Netanyahu said.

“We will employ an iron fist, including consideration of detentions and administrative restrictions to curb these terrible murders. This fight will not be simple, but I am certain that with our joint forces we will succeed in defeating this phenomenon and will certainly reduce it to the dimensions we have achieved in the Jewish sector.”

But Netanyahu also appealed to Arab community leaders to join in the effort, rather than turning a blind eye.

“I appeal to the Arab public,” he said. “I appeal to the Knesset members, local council heads and opinion-makers, and I tell them: Stand together with the government in the joint effort against the criminal organizations,” he added.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.