Netanyahu: 'I won't allow Lod to turn into the Wild West'

Yishai says Jewish majority will solve city's problems after two drive-by murders in one week; police nab suspect in Halili killing.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 7, 2010 12:03
2 minute read.
Binyamin Netanyahu and Yitzhak Aharonovitch in Lod

Netanyahu and Aharonovitch 311. (photo credit: Moshe Milner / GPO)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited Lod on Thursday, and called for an end to crime after two residents were murdered this week.

"The government is committed to the city of Lod and its residents," Netanyahu said at a meeting of the Lod City Council. "We cannot stand aside and allow the city to deteriorate."

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Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich also participated in the meeting.

I am not willing to see Lod become the Wild West.  I am not even willing to discuss it," the prime minister added. "No community, and it does not matter where, whether in the center, north or south of the country, can be disturbed by crime, violence and those who break the law."

"Our commitment to boosting personal security is expressed today, here in Lod, and will continue unabated in the weeks, months and years to come," he said.

Netanyahu promised to call a government meeting in the coming days in order to discuss the city. He said he will propose plans to draw young couples to the city.

In an interview with Israel Radio, Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) said that the solution to the growing crime rate in Lod in to ensure a Jewish majority in the city.

"I want a Jewish majority in the city of Lod, period," Yishai said.

When asked if he wants a Jewish majority in Acre, Yafo and Jerusalem, Yishai responded, "yes, of course."

"These cities are begging for a Jewish majority - it's legitimate," the interior minister added.

Aharonovich explained that "the police is doing excellent work here, and will continue with increased forces. The police's purpose is to give greater security."

Police arrest suspect, reveal possible motive

Police continued investigating this week's drive-by murders in Lod, arresting a suspect and revealing a motive on Thursday.

The motive for Monday's murder of Sami Hijazi may have been money-related, Israel Radio reported.

Hijazi, 41, was a contractor that installs water boilers, and also reportedly a loan shark. Police suspect that when he demanded a woman pay him back, her family attacked him.

Police reportedly presented their findings to Aharonovich on Wednesday.

A suspect was arrested in connection to the second murder in Lod this week, of Emal Halili, 27.

The suspect, aged 43, was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport on his return to Israel. He will be brought for a remand extension at the Ramle Magistrate's court later Thursday.

Following the murders, an entire Border Police company was deployed in the crime-ridden town. On a visit to Lod, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich said police and the Shin Bet will launch a campaign to fight the use and possession of illegal firearms.

Ben Hartman contributed to this report.



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