Central District Commander Bruno Stein 370.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The past 10 years have seen a significant change in the Arab sector’s
cooperation and faith in the police, which officers see in the field and in
public statements by Arab leaders, Central District Asst.- Ch. Bruno Stein said
“You see more people [in the Arab sector] turning to the police
for trivial issues and more serious ones. This is something that was much rarer
10 years ago,” Stein said.
Requests for more police posts in the Triangle
– a collection of Arab villages in the northeast corner of the district – is
evidence of a desire for more policing in the Arab sector, Stein added.
Therefore, police are planning on opening a new post in the area of Kafr Kasim
and Jaljulya in the Triangle, he said.
“We see them making these public
calls to fight drugs and illegal firearms and this is something that requires
that we as police provide them with these services,” he added.
spoke to The Jerusalem Post
from his office at the district headquarters in
Ramle on Tuesday, just ahead of Rosh Hashana. Stein’s new office is back in his
old stomping grounds, where he served as Ramle police chief from 2002-2003. He
served the next two years as the head of Netanya police, also in the Central
District, before being assigned to head the Eilat police and later, the Tzion
subdistrict in Jerusalem from 2007 to 2011, when he was appointed head of the
National Traffic Police. In May he was appointed head of the Central District,
his first post as a district head.
The Central District is Israel’s most
populous, covering a broad swath from the Netanya coast and the Alexander River
in the north to Gadera in the south and east to the Green Line. The district is
home to over 1.6 million people in 230 towns and 45 local authorities, many of
which have historically been among Israel’s most crime-ridden, including Lod,
Ramle, Netanya and the towns of the Triangle.
Stein, a 52-year-old father
of three from Rehovot, has in the past few months dealt with a series of
gangland hits in the district, including the murder of two men in July who were
killed in a car bomb at the Yarkon junction, and a brazen drive-by shooting that
took place outside a kindergarten in broad daylight in Petah Tikva earlier in
“These are cases that stay at the head of our list of
priorities until they are solved. Anything we consider a serious crime is
something we stay with until the end.”
He praised his predecessor, Bentzi
Sau, for a number of cases, including the arrest of over a dozen members of the
Taiba-based Abdel-Kader crime family and a serial bank robber.
a subdistrict head in Jerusalem during a number of times of tension between
police and haredi and Arab residents of the city, including the protests
surrounding the Sheikh Jarrah movement. He said that the things he learned about
building bridges with the Arab community is something he hopes to bring to his
new post, especially when it comes to the issue of illegal firearms, which has
long been a scourge of the Arab sector in Israel.
While illegal firearms
have plagued the district for decades, a newer issue has drawn the attention of
district police – underground marijuana grow labs hidden in suburban houses.
This summer there have been a series of raids of such houses in the district,
including in Rishon Lezion and in Ness Ziona. The grow rooms are built to meet
the high demand for marijuana brought on by a drought in the local market,
largely brought on by the construction of the border fence on the border with
Drought or no drought, Stein said they’ll fight the phenomenon,
and laughed off a query about if he supports legalization.
dealing with drugs is for us an all-out war. We’ll keep building
intelligence on this front, drought or no drought.”
In terms of a
separate war – that may or may not happen following an expected United States
strike on Syria – he cautiously said that police “are ready to deal with any
situation,” before wishing a Happy New Year to all the people of Israel.