Why Is There a Crime Explosion Among Arab Israelis? // A Massive String of Homicides has Begun Targeting Politicians

“We will employ all means, including the Shin Bet and police, to defeat this criminality. We will eliminate organized crime in Israel’s Arab society. All Israeli citizens must live in safety and not under the shadow of the threat of domestic terror.”
—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, responding to the murder of a municipal official in the Arab-Israeli city of Tira and the murder of a mayoral candidate in the Arab-Israeli town of Abu Snan.

“It’s not just the over 150 people killed, may their memory be a blessing; we have a bigger threat. Crime in the Arab sector could very well spill over into the Jewish sector. They have [all kinds of] weapons that could all be directed at us upon command.”
—National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, in an interview with the Kan public broadcasting channel.

“The government’s priorities are clearly elsewhere. The government talks the talk but does not walk the walk, and criminals have been the first to realize it.”
—Hebrew University criminologist Dr. Badi Hasisi, in an interview with the Times of Israel.


Israel is experiencing a massive wave of murders, one particularly focused on the Arab Israeli sector. The number of deaths so far this year is at least double that of last year at this time.

And the extent of the lawlessness seems to have ticked up last week, when on Monday Abdul Rahman Kashua, director-general of the Arab municipality of Tira, was murdered, and then on Tuesday, Ghazi Sa’ab, a candidate for mayor in Abu Snan, was shot along with three other people.

When Itamar Ben-Gvir posited that the only reason for concern about the crime that has gone on in the Arab towns and villages is that it will spill into Jewish areas, he was excoriated by those who said that the State of Israel should be worrying about all of its citizens, a sentiment voiced by Prime Minister Netanyahu in his speech after the killing of Kashua.

Either way, it is a worrying sign for a state when chaos reigns in any of its streets. To understand the problem, we spoke with two experts on Arab-Israeli society who have examined the problems of crime in those communities.


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