What is behind rising violence in Israeli Arab society?

October 10, 2019

A protest in Umm al-Fahm against violence in the Arab community

Afif Abu Much writes in Al-Monitor:

“I condemn the acts of murder and violence in Arab society,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted Oct. 6, after a long silence over the recent surge of violence in Arab communities. With more than 70 murders since the start of the year and over 1,300 since the year 2000, Israel’s 21% Arab minority has had enough, and masses came out to protest police inaction Oct. 4.

Ninety-five percent of shooting incidents in Israel occur in the Arab sector, as do nearly 60% of the murders. From this, we get a troubling picture of the point to which Arab Israeli society has sunk.

Even Netanyahu, who generally expresses himself on matters relating to Arab society when it serves his political interests, and then usually to incite hatred, could not ignore the issue. Nonetheless, it is somewhat strange. After all, during his decadelong rule, Netanyahu allowed the monster to grow to such terrible dimensions. He should have been the first to deal with the problem and wipe out the violence and criminality, given that Arab Israeli citizens deserve the same sense of security as Jewish citizens.

The lack of enforcement in the Arab sector seems linked to a perception among many Israeli decision-makers that “Arab society is a very, very violent society,” as stated outrageously by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan Oct. 7. He continued, “It’s because in their culture, disputes, rather than ending with a lawsuit, end with a knife or weapon being drawn. It’s because a mother can give her approval to her son to murder the sister because she is dating a man the family does not like.”

Obviously, there is no scientific evidence to back up his observation. It is simply another racist comment of the type favored by Erdan, as reflected by his unsubstantiated claim that “arson terrorism” caused a wave of wildfires in the winter of 2016. Erdan also falsely claimed that Yakub Abu al-Kiyan, a Bedouin teacher Israeli forces shot dead during riots in the village of Umm al-Hiran in January 2017, was a terrorist and that his killing had foiled a terrorist attack. Erdan also falsely suggested to President Donald Trump during his visit to Israel that a traffic accident in Tel Aviv had been a terror attack.

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