Five killed in shooting near Nazareth, several injured in North

97 Arabs have been killed as a result of violent crime in Israel since the start of 2023 • Netanyahu says Shin Bet will assist in fighting violent crime

 Police at the scene where five people were shot dead in the Arab Town of Yafa an-Naseriyye, northern Israel, June 8, 2023 (photo credit: FLASH90/FADI AMUN)
Police at the scene where five people were shot dead in the Arab Town of Yafa an-Naseriyye, northern Israel, June 8, 2023
(photo credit: FLASH90/FADI AMUN)

In one of the deadliest criminal shootings in years, five people were killed and a sixth suffered moderate wounds at a car wash in the town of Yafia, near Nazareth on Thursday afternoon.

The five fatalities in the shooting that police deemed to be a criminal incident, were identified as Naim Margiyeh, Abu Naim Margiyeh, Iliyah Margiyeh, Louis Abu Ragheb and Abraheem Shehadeh, 15, all were connected to the Bakri family crime ring who also own the car wash where the shooting took place, according to KAN.

Over 20 people have been killed in clashes between the Bakri family and the rival Khariri clan in the last two years, according to reports. The Yafia council declared a period of mourning.

The perpetrators arrived at the car wash and one man got out of a car, went into an office where two of the five victims were sitting and shot them. He then made his way to the car washing area and shot at the four others, an initial investigation showed. The shooter then returned to the car and drove it to a nearby forest where it was set alight.

 Police at the scene where five people were shot dead in the Arab Town of Yafa an-Naseriyye, northern Israel, June 8, 2023 (credit: FLASH90/FADI AMUN)
Police at the scene where five people were shot dead in the Arab Town of Yafa an-Naseriyye, northern Israel, June 8, 2023 (credit: FLASH90/FADI AMUN)

Violent crime continues throughout Israel

The victims were treated by MDA paramedics on site and were then taken to EMMS Nazareth Hospital where they were declared dead. Ynet said this was the single shooting with the most victims since 2009. It was preceded by another shooting in which a three-year-old girl and a man, 30, were seriously injured in the incident in Kafr Kanna, another Arab-Israeli town not far from Nazareth. The two injured were taken to Poriya Medical Center near Tiberias for further treatment. The toddler was said to be in serious condition and the man was in a critical state, media said.So far in 2023, 97 people in the Arab sector have been killed in criminal incidents, according to the Abraham Initiatives, an NGO that tracks Arab-Israeli crime.

Hadash-Ta’al MK Aida Touma-Sliman told 103FM that she was struggling to process the information, that it was “like a war, like watching a war unfold and knowing that in just a few minutes you will see something that will shock you. This isn’t violence on a social level, it is a world war between criminal gangs that function like armies.”

She later added that “this is the first time in my life that I am hearing a family member of mine consider relocating from this place.”

Abraham Initiatives called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to convene an emergency meeting to discuss the situation and to oust National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, under whose purview the violence has skyrocketed.“Every day that Ben-Gvir is National Security Minister is a day on which the circle of bloodshed continues,” the NGO said.

Opposition head Yair Lapid charged that Netanyahu “must put himself at the very front of the fight against crime in the Arab sector and not leave it to Ben-Gvir, the worst minister to hold this position that the police has ever known.”In the corresponding period last year, 35 people had been killed, according to the Abraham Initiatives and during the whole of 2022 there 86 people were fatally shot in the Arab sector, 42 of them were aged under 30. Six were women.Netanyahu met with Hadash-Ta’al MKs on Monday to discuss a 12-point plan to fight the spike in violent crime. Among the party’s demands were that the government must do more to stop the smuggling of weaponry from IDF bases to crime organizations.

Netanyahu said he was “shocked by the terrible murder near Nazareth. We are determined to stop this chain of murders. We will do this not only by reinforcing the police but also with the assistance of the Shin Bet.”He added that he is “determined to bring in the Shin Bet to assist the police to fight these criminals, against the criminal organizations, against these murders. [I met with] security, legal, and police officials and intend to continue [next week] to achieve quick results.”

Ra’am head Mansour Abbas told N12 that the option to involve the Shin Bet has been proposed for years but never was utilized. He added that what the Knesset could do was to convene an emergency meeting next week.One of Hadash-Ta’al’s proposals in its 12-point plan was to form a ministerial committee and to cancel Ben-Gvir’s “National Guard” plan.

Netanyahu later spoke with Ben-Gvir and Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai to assess the situation.Ben-Gvir arrived at the shooting scene later in the afternoon and blamed a “lack of governance and years of neglect” for the state of affairs in Israel’s Arab sector.

“There is a lack of governance here, a wild west in the Arab sector that has continued all these years. We are working hard, there is a lack of manpower in the police and we are trying to do root canal treatment in the matter,” he told reporters on site.

President Isaac Herzog described the situation as an emergency.

“The State of Israel is facing a wave of extreme violence and crime. Civil terrorism strikes first and foremost in Arab society, but it does not stop there. As is the way of terrorism – it has no boundaries. Murder and more murder, women and men, of every age, and even today – which looks just like a massacre in Yafia.”

In an emotional plea to end the violence, Herzog said that Israel must act to eradicate it.

“Worlds are destroyed, entire families crash. This is one of the most central challenges for the State of Israel and we must act urgently against civil terrorism in any way and by with all parties joining together.”

Hadash-Ta’al MK Youssef Atauna called on Twitter for Ben-Gvir to be fired in the face of the continued rise in violence: “I call for the immediate dismissal of the minister [Ben-Gvir] ... who has failed in his duty to provide security to the Arab citizens of the country.”

Ra’am MK Waleed Alhwashla echoed the sentiment, stating that the Arab communities were not afforded the same security measures as others in Israel.

“The streets in Arab society have become a battlefield, and now a real massacre has taken place, a civil bloodbath. When will the authorities and the administration begin to realize the magnitude of the disaster that is taking place? Or is there no intention to act at all?”

“Such an event in the state of Tel Aviv would have brought about the end of the minister’s tenure. There should be a shutdown of the state until practical steps are taken to eradicate crime,” he added.

Touma-Sliman said she was certain that security would not improve as long as Ben-Gvir remained in his post and that “the numbers speak for themselves. The time has come for this man be relieved of his ministry.”

Eliav Breuer contributed to this report.