A Jewish-Arab demonstration against violence.
(photo credit: KHOLOD KHAMIS)
Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich revealed Tuesday that the government cut NIS 400 million from the police plan to combat crime in the Arab sector.
During a discussion held by the Knesset’s State Comptroller Committee about the issue of violence in Arab society, Alsheich presented statistics according to which there has been a significant decrease in murders and shooting incidents in Arab society and said, “If there is a factor in the State of Israel that has revolutionized Arab society, it is the police.”
There has been a drop from 77 murders last year to 40 this year, he said, but added, “I’m worried about the future in terms of budget. Not only did they cut NIS 400 million in 2018, 2019 does not look good, and 2020-2021 hangs in the air entirely. You cannot make the change in one day... We started with a plan that all the indicators show is in the right direction. There is a breakthrough, and momentum. If you want to keep them, the budgets for 2019-2020 need to be revised.”
The meeting came on the heels of a State Comptroller report published in August which said that since 2000, there had been 1,236 victims of violence in Arab society. While 20% of the country’s citizens are Arabs, the rate of Arabs involved in violent crimes and murder cases ranges from 40% to 50%, and their involvement in shootings was 95%, according to the State Comptroller.
Committee Chairman MK Shelly Yachimovich said, “a brutal cut of NIS 400 million in the government’s plan to eradicate violence and deal with the large quantities of weapons in the Arab sector is extremely grave.” She slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “boasting” the day before of investment in the Arab sector.
Yachimovich added, “The victims of violence in the Arab sector are innocent Arab citizens, and usually are not Jews, as some tend to think. I suppose if it were victims of the general population, the story would already have been defined as a terrorist incident, and we would have seen a full mobilization of all bodies and resources to eradicate the phenomenon. However, the commissioner presented here a very significant improvement in a short period of time, and he should be praised for it. It is terrible to learn that the government is cutting hundreds of millions of shekels from this, the price of which will be a continuation of violence and victims.”
Despite the achievements presented by Alsheich, Arab MKs present at the meeting sharply criticized the police approach to their sector.
“When it comes to arms smuggling to the Arab sector, the police commissioner and the police have failed. This means more weapons, more shooting incidents, more bereaved families.”
Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman said, “You, the police commissioner, look at us with a stereotypical eye, so this is the result. Shooting incidents are not part of our culture. The problem is the mentality of the police, not the mentality of the citizens.”
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