Cabinet approves NIS 2.5 billion to fight crime in Arab community

After more than 100 Arab citizens killed in violent crime so far this year, Bennett says the Israeli Arab population ‘needs to join the fight as well’

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (center) visits a police station on August 11, 2021

Aaron Boxerman and Amy Spiro writes in Times of Israel, “The cabinet passed a plan on Sunday to allocate NIS 2.5 billion ($750 million) over the next five years to fight the wave of criminal activity in Arab communities, where more than 100 people have been killed in violent crimes so far this year. According to officials, around NIS 1.4 billion ($436.7 million) will go toward strengthening law enforcement: funding intensified operations by security agencies and building new police stations in Arab towns. Another NIS 1 billion ($312 million) will fund dozens of civilian programs designed to deal with the crime wave.”

“The Prime Minister’s Office said Sunday evening that the program’s goals include disbanding the many prominent underworld organizations, boosting the sense of public security among citizens, significantly reducing the number of illegal weapons held by civilians and increasing cooperation with local authorities and trust by local civilians.”

“This is not a one-sided task, and this is not just a task of the government, but this is a shared goal of the government of Israel and the Arab public,” said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, following the passage of the plan. “The state will do its part, but the Arab street needs to join the fight as well. It won’t be easy, but we must succeed.” Ending the crime wave, which has claimed 104 Arab victims so far this year, consistently ranks as the number one priority for Arab Israelis in opinion polls.”

Minister of Public Security Omer Barlev visits a business that was a victim of protection racket, August 11, 2021.

““We believe that the fight against crime must rely on two elements: strengthening the police on one hand, and on the other hand, economic development, giving young people skills, and so on,” said Arab Israeli official Hassan Tawafreh, who directs a government office charged with strengthening the Arab Israeli economy, in a September phone call with The Times of Israel.” (more…)

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