Deputy police minister: Killings in Arab towns dropping, weapon confiscations rising
Deputy Public Security Minister Yoav Segalovitz said on Sunday that shootings within the Arab community have gone down, as the government and security forces work to round up and confiscate illegal weapons.
According to Segalovitz, the past five months have seen 42 murders in Arab society, compared to 56 in the same period the previous year.
Addressing the Knesset Public Security Committee, Segalovitz said that as part of efforts to curb violence in the Arab community, police and other authorities have compiled a list of 631 suspects in criminal activity, of whom 166 have been arrested and 144 indicted.
He also said that there has been a rise in confiscation of illegal weaponry within the community.
“Criminals need to understand that the rules of the game have changed,” he said. “This is a top-priority social mission. The discussions are over — we are moving on to action.”
Arab communities in Israel have seen a surge in violence in recent years, driven mainly, but not exclusively, by organized crime. Arab Israelis blame police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence, which includes family feuds, mafia turf wars and violence against women.
The Arab community has also suffered from decades of neglect.
The Abraham Initiatives, which monitors and campaigns against violence in the Arab community, said that 2021 saw 125 Arabs killed as a result of violence and crime— an all-time record.
Earlier this year, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev said that “criminal families in the Arab sector” were “holding the community by the throat.”
Last year, the cabinet passed a plan to allocate NIS 2.5 billion ($750 million) over the next five years to fight the rampant crime in Arab communities.
Finance Ministry Director-General Ram Belinkov said at the same meeting that treasury officials have doubled their efforts to combat the black market within the Arab community, focusing on decreasing the use of paper money and boosting the taking of loans and mortgages.
Belinkov said that officials have confiscated millions of shekels in paper currency from locations used by organized crime.
“Because of lackluster administration and bureaucracy [in the Arab community], many people turn to loan sharks who are connected to organized crime,” he said.