PM: Arab sector should fight crime in community

Netanyahu calls for more enlistment in national service following 3 violent deaths over weekend in Arab sector.

March 25, 2012 20:53
2 minute read.
POLICE MOTORCYCLISTS at Lod antiviolence rally.

police antiviolence rally lod parade 311. (photo credit: POLICE MOTORCYCLISTS ride at the front of an antiv)

The country’s Arab youth should join the national service and fight crime in their own communities, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu’s comments came following a weekend in which there were three murders in the Arab sector. One man was shot dead in broad daylight in Lod, another was shot and killed in Taiba and the body of a third man – who had also been shot – was discovered near Tamra.

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“Reducing crime in the Arab sector is a goal of the government and it needs to be a goal of the country,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister said he “appreciated” that there were increasing voices from within the leadership of the Arab sector calling for stepped-up law enforcement, and that increased enlistment in the national service would promote this.

“The community can help itself,” he said. “The Arab sector can help itself vis-à-vis increased law enforcement by volunteering in the civilian service as well.”

While the government has spent billions of shekels to promote greater Arab integration into the country’s economy, “without law enforcement” that goal will remain elusive, Netanyahu said.

Alongside an economic partnership, he said, “there must also be partnership in enforcing the law. We will do our part. I expect a practical response by Arab sector community representatives regarding increased law enforcement in their communities.”

Mohammed Zidane, head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, which organizes the political operations of a number of Israeli Arab bodies across the country, said, “I agree that we have a responsibility to fight crime, and we are ready to contribute, with lectures and hasbara in the mosques, churches, schools and community centers. But the ultimate responsibility for ensuring the safety of citizens is on the government.”

Zidane said the government has a greater responsibility mainly because of the scourge of firearms in the Arab sector, a menace that law-abiding citizens can’t be expected to fight on their own.

“Within 48 hours, three people were killed in the Arab sector and the tool used was guns. We put the obligation on the government to collect the illegal weaponry running through the sector and the black market. We can’t do this ourselves.”

In regards to national service, Zidane said: “We are wiling to enlist in a civil service framework, we are ready to enlist and contribute and help the community, but not through an IDF or defense system framework. If this is how it will be we will be against it.”

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