90% of arrested weapons crime suspects from Arab-Israeli sector

96 Arab Israelis were killed and hundreds were wounded in violent crimes in 2020.

Arab leaders stand in front of a sign that reads "We want to live without violence and crime" (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Arab leaders stand in front of a sign that reads "We want to live without violence and crime"
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Weapons-related arrests by Israel Police increased by about 22% in 2020 compared to 2019, with 90% of the arrested suspects coming from the Arab-Israeli sector, as murders and violent crimes spiked in Arab-Israeli society last year.
The number of indictments rose by over 18%, with 1,548 indictments issued for weapons-related crimes, the police announced on Monday. About 85% of the indictments were issued against suspects from the Arab-Israeli sector.
Over 1,150 guns of different types, over 200 grenades, large amounts of ammunition, magazines, explosive materials and more were confiscated in Arab communities by Israel Police in 2020 as well.
"Weapons held illegally are often used by criminals, gangs and criminal organizations, mainly in conflicts and local assassinations, but not only that," said Israel Police in a press statement. "These weapons are also used for terrorist activities, serious crimes and incidents of severe violence."
The Police stressed that the campaign against illegal weapons and shootings will continue throughout the country, including in Arab-Israeli society even during the coronavirus crisis.
"Unfortunately, various actors often try to present an alternative reality and blame the police activity against criminal elements in the sector instead of strengthening the Police with the determined treatment of violence in Arab society and acting with all the tools available to lead to change."
"Israel Police will continue its determined and uncompromising fight against weapons offenses, in the communities of Arab society and elsewhere, in order to maintain public peace and security," it said, adding that alongside continued and intensified enforcement, "multi-systemic treatment and deep-rooted change that is far beyond police enforcement" is required in order to treat the issue.
In June, the Personal Security Index report by the Abraham Initiatives organization stressed as well that "policing is only the Band-Aid" and "to prevent and to change the root causes, the Israeli government needs to develop and execute a long-term plan that includes almost all the government ministries and agencies.”
2020 was the most bloody year for Arab-Israeli society since the recording of murder rates began, with the Abraham Initiatives reporting that 96 citizens were murdered and hundreds were seriously wounded, while the Aman Center for Combating Violence in Arab Society reported that 113 citizens were murdered. In comparison, 89 Arab citizens were killed in 2019.
December 2020 also marked the bloodiest month on record, with over 17 murders in just one month.
The organization warned that 2021 seemingly would be just as bloody, as already in the first days of the year a number of murders were reported, alongside the large-scale theft of ammunition from the IDF. According to the Aman Center, nine Arab-Israelis have already been killed this year.
"A huge amount of ammunition flows under the nose that will probably reach criminals in Arab localities," said the Abraham Initiatives on Facebook. "At the same time, the scourge of crime is flowing from Arab localities to Jewish society in a chain of events that make it difficult for the police to continue to turn a blind eye."
In 2019, Arab-Israelis conducted a series of protests and strikes against government and police failure to deal with violence in Arab communities. Similar protests occurred in 2020 as well.
As of December 31, 2020, there were 1,956,000 Arab citizens of Israel, comprising 21.1% of the population.