Thousands in Tamra protest over violence in Arab sector, Route 70 blocked

Protesters were seen carrying signs reading "Mr. Netanyahu, talks a lot but does little," and "the government is abandoning its citizens - our blood is not red enough."

Thousands attend the funeral of twenty-year-old nursing student Ahmad Hijazi near the Arab city of Tamra, northern Israel, February 2, 2021, Ahmad Hijazi killed in a shootout between Israeli police officers and criminals in Tamra. (photo credit: SRAYA DIAMANT/FLASH90)
Thousands attend the funeral of twenty-year-old nursing student Ahmad Hijazi near the Arab city of Tamra, northern Israel, February 2, 2021, Ahmad Hijazi killed in a shootout between Israeli police officers and criminals in Tamra.
(photo credit: SRAYA DIAMANT/FLASH90)
Thousands of protesters gathered in the Arab village of Tamra on Saturday, protesting over the violence and crime in the Arab sector and what they view as incompetence by the police to address the issue, Israeli media reported. 
Specifically, the crowd protested the death of Ahmad Hijazi, a 22-year-old a nursing student from Tamra, who died earlier this week in the crossfire during a shootout between Israel Police and a number of criminal suspects in the city. 

The protesters marched from Tamra on a nearby highway, leading to Route 70 being blocked on both sides by police from the Javor Junction to the Evlaim Junction.  
Protesters were seen carrying signs reading "Mr. Netanyahu talks a lot but does little," and "the government is abandoning its citizens - our blood is not red enough." 
Tamra Mayor Dr. Suhail Diab called on the Arab leadership in Israel to boycott the Israel Police while an inquiry committee investigates Hijazi's death "and reaches clear conclusions." 
"The police has failed. We demand that an inquiry committee investigates the police northern district's conduct in Tamra and in the surrounding area. I call on the entire [Arab] leadership to boycott the bearers of guns," Tamra's mayor said during Saturday's protest.
"We want an effective police that will combat crime and criminals and not harm innocent people and open fire in the heart of a residential neighborhood. The Arab community is not violent. It's a small group that needs to be dealt with," he added.  
According to MK Aymen Odeh (Joint List) Hijazi's death would have attracted more attention "had it been a Jewish young person who died." Attending the protest on Saturday, Odeh said that "it's the duty of the government and the police to stop the bloodshed - not create more of it."  

Marching protesters were heard chanting slogans like "heads of the local authorities - submit your resignations now."
Another protest over rising crime rates in the Arab Sector took place in Jaffa on Saturday, with dozens of protesters gathering at the city's symbolic Clock Tower. 


A protest against the rising crime and violence in the Arab sector in Israel, Jaffa, Saturday, February 6, 2021 (Credit: Sassoni Avshalom)A protest against the rising crime and violence in the Arab sector in Israel, Jaffa, Saturday, February 6, 2021 (Credit: Sassoni Avshalom)
While protests over the rising crime rates and violence in the Arab sector in Israel have become more frequent in recent months, Hijazi's death reignited a public uproar that has not been seen among Israeli Arabs in years. 
Hijazi's funeral was attended by an unprecedented number of 10,000 participants according to several estimations.
The incident even led to a group of notable Israeli Arab journalists to halt all channels of communication with the Israel Police, which they blamed for "maintaining its suspicious security policy toward every Arab citizen in the country" and not treating them as equals.