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#Arab_lives_matter sparks calls for more policing in Israel

Arab citizens of Israel seek to raise awareness of the increasing rate of violent crime in their communities under the hashtag “Arab lives matter”.

ABU SNAN, Israel – Arab citizens of Israel are seeking to raise awareness of the increasing rate of violent crime in their communities under the hashtag ‘Arab lives matter’, but unlike a similar campaign in the United States, they are calling for more police, no less.

The Arab minority, which makes up about 20% of Israel’s population, has been devastated by violent crime in recent years, with a murder rate that far exceeds its share of the population and is driven by criminal gangs and gangsters. family conflicts.

Activists say Israeli authorities have historically ignored deadly crimes among Arabs. Israeli officials have touted a number of initiatives in recent years, including larger budgets for law enforcement in Arab communities, but police said community leaders could do more to help them.

At least 78 Arab citizens have been killed so far this year out of a total of 93 nationwide murders, according to Abraham Initiatives, an Israeli civil society organization promoting Judeo-Arab coexistence.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett vowed last month that after years of neglect, his newly inaugurated government would tackle the violent crimes plaguing Arab communities. It was one of the main demands of a small Arab party which made history by joining its narrow coalition.

After two more people were killed in Arab towns last week, Arab blogger Sheren Falah Saab tweeted “#Arab — lives — matter” in Hebrew in an attempt to open a dialogue with the Jewish majority in Israel.

“The inspiration comes from the Black Lives Matter movement, but it is important to note that violence in Arab society in Israel is not caused by the police or law enforcement, it is between Arabs,” he said. she declared. “It is important to say that there is negligence and lack of enforcement on the part of the police, and a lack of follow-up when murders are committed.”

His statement went viral on social media. Lawmakers, activists and organizations joined the chorus, as did the minister responsible for police.

Public Security Minister Omer Bar-lev blamed the problem on “decades of neglect, contempt and fear of getting to the heart of the Arab sector’s problems and the prevailing assumption that” as long as they kill each other, so that’s their problem. . ‘”

“In the first 100 days since taking office, I have done more than what has been done in recent decades in addressing crime in the Arab sector. Yes, # Arab-Lives-Matter, ”he tweeted.

Arab citizens of Israel have citizenship, including the right to vote, but face discrimination in housing and other sectors. Most speak Hebrew fluently and have a disproportionate presence in universities and medicine, among other professions.

They also have close family ties to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and largely identify with their cause, leading many Israeli Jews to view them with suspicion. Within the community, there is widespread mistrust of the mostly Jewish Israel Police, but also growing calls for them to intervene more forcefully to combat the violence.

Protesters gathered outside Bar-Lev’s home last weekend to call for more policing.

“I want the police to do their job properly. Enough, ”said Muna Khalil, whose son was shot and killed in June. She criticized the police for not doing enough to find her son’s killer and bring him to justice. “They know who killed my son, but they’re not doing the right thing.”


ABC News

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