(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Tel Aviv residents complain of loud music from karaoke bars, while Umm al-Fahm resident complain of gunshots in their neighborhoods and the Israel Police must adapt to the communities’ varied needs, Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich said on Wednesday.
“When a citizen in Umm al Fahm needs to come home and they experience crossfire and they are afraid to go home because they hear shooting they are not interested in the noise of karaoke next door,” Alsheich said at the annual Herzliya Conference.
Alsheich added that the police must create goals that take into account the different needs of communities in Israel.
Alsheich’s comments come as the police are facing increased criticism for a perceived lack of policing and strained relations with Arab-Israeli communities. In June a civilian security guard manning a community policing station in Kafr Kasim opened fire on a group of rioters, killing 20-year-old Muhammad Taha. The incident sparked a security crackdown on the city of more than 21,000 and brought widespread condemnation of police actions from Arab-Israeli leaders.
Police and other officials readily admit that there is a shortage of forces in Arab-Israeli communities. There are only seven stations for those communities. Yet they say a five-year NIS 2 billion plan to increase law enforcement in Arab localities that began last year is under way. In addition, police were able to double the number of Muslim officers last year to 4% from 2% of the force. Muslims make up 17% of the population.