Parents in Lod’s Arab sector kept their children out of school on Thursday, to protest rising violence in the city and what they say is a lack of effort on the part of police or the government to put an end to the bloodshed.

The strike followed the murder Tuesday night of mother of five Abiv Abu Katifo, the third murder in the city in the past month. The majority of the 11 murders committed so far this year in Lod have been viewed as so-called “honor killings,” carried out by the relatives of the victims because of some sort of perceived transgression.

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Samah Salima-Agbaria, the founder of the organization Naam, which seeks to empower women in the Arab sector in Lod and nearby Ramle, said the strike was held because people feel “that [the state and the police] are ignoring the Arabs in the city and we aren’t getting equal services. “There is no feeling of security among the residents, and the problem of violence can’t be dealt with without the help of the authorities and the police.”

Agbaria took issue with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich’s statement that the murders can only be prevented by “introducing changes to culture and education” in the Arab sector.

“These are excuses,” Agbaria said. “It is unacceptable for someone who is in charge of the police to say such a thing, to say it’s all a problem of the Arab culture.”

To Agbaria, who was the former manager of the Arab sector’s only community center in Lod before the site closed in 2004, the problem requires “more investment in the local industry of Lod.

“There is not a single Arab community center in the entire city,” she said. “There aren’t community centers for young Arab girls, or social workers devoted to their problems. You can’t enforce the law without investment.”

On Friday, leaders of the Arab community plan to hold a protest at 1 p.m. outside the mosque next to Lod’s Old City, in which they will demand an end to the violence, and for police to increase efforts to clean the city of illegal weaponry.

The city has a population of about 68,000, roughly 78 percent Jewish and 22% Arab.

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