NGO calls on PM to stamp out anti-Arab violence

Directors of the The Abraham Fund send letter to Netanyahu calling for a new gov't program to deal with violence against Arabs.

February 28, 2013 20:05
2 minute read.
Arab child attacked in Jerusalem [file]

Arab child attacked in Jerusalem 370. (photo credit: Melanie Lidman)


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The Abraham Fund Initiatives – for the integration and equality of Arab citizens – sent a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu last week calling for a new government program to deal with violence against Arabs.

The letter, drafted by the co-executive directors of the Fund in Israel, Amnon Beeri- Sulitzeanu and Mohammad Darawshe was titled “A plan of action for dealing with violence against Arabs.” It mentions recent suspected incidents of racist-based violence against Arabs, and argues that the phenomenon has increased lately.

The letter states, “We turn to you [Netanyahu] in order to initiate an urgent plan to deal with violence and hate crimes against Arabs.”

The plan will include a coordinated effort by the police, the judicial branch, and the educational system.

It will include clear steps for strict enforcement of laws against racist violence and deterrence, the letter stated.

There should also be an educational initiative to eliminate racism among Israeli youth. The letter concluded by calling on the prime minister to publicly condemn racist actions.

The letter refers to recent incidents that involved violence against Arabs. On Monday an alleged attack on an Arab woman by a group of religious Jewish women was reported in Jerusalem. Police have launched an investigation.

Early Sunday near Jaffa, an Arab was apparently attacked by what he claimed was a group of around 15 Jews who also yelled racist insults at him.

Beeri-Sulitzeanu told The Jerusalem Post that one of the main things that needs to be done is to pass a “hate crimes” law. Additionally, he said there needs to be a change in the educational system with a curriculum and workshops that promote coexistence.

He also said Netanyahu should come out much stronger against racism – “he needs to say there is a zero-tolerance policy for hate crimes against Arabs.”

“The public sphere is turning into a hunting field of Arabs and we see that this is growing, and we fear that if we don’t stop it now someone could be killed.”

Regarding a comment by the Post that Arabs are also attacking Jews, Amnon said, “I don’t see Arabs attacking Jews. Where do you see Arabs attacking Jews?” He went on to add, “You have to understand that this is not the situation right now.

Maybe Arabs attack Jews once in a while, but this is not what we are seeing now.”

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