Arab-Israeli man killed in Haifa, marking the 100th victim this year

A 40-year-old man was run over and then shot to death in Haifa on Friday night, in the 100th crime-related murder in the Israeli-Arab community since the beginning of the year.

 Israel Police commissioner Kobi Shabtai addresses top police brass on September 30, 2021. (photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE SPOKESMAN)
Israel Police commissioner Kobi Shabtai addresses top police brass on September 30, 2021.

Maharan Mougrabi, 40, was run over and shot in Haifa on Friday, and died on Saturday in Rambam Medical Center. 

Security cameras showed that Mougrabi was hit by a car that was driving in the wrong lane as he was crossing a street. An armed man then exited the car, shot him, and drove off.

Mougrabi is then seen trying to stand but quickly falls to the ground. He crawls a few meters but then falls still and does not move again. He was married and had a daughter.

The murder was the fifth in Haifa in the past two months.

While the NGO "Abraham Initiatives" counted Mougrabi's death as the 95th this year in the Israeli-Arab community, others counted it as the 100th due to different criteria.

Police investigating a crime scene  (credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)Police investigating a crime scene (credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

Israeli-Arab MKs and activists reacted to the tragic milestone.

"100 Arab citizens were murdered since the beginning of the year. 100 victims of the crime that is raging unchecked." MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List) wrote on Twitter.

"For a few months, we have been hearing about plans, preparations and operations conducted by the police. So how come this is the bloodiest year in recent memory? We do not have patience for more plans and declarations - [we] demand immediate life-saving action," she wrote.

"Neighborhood committees and social organizations have been warning the Mayor and Members of Knesset in meetings for a year and a half about what was about to occur and nothing was done," said Jaffer Farah, head of the Mossawa Center, the Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel.

"They know how to invest millions in the [Haifa] film festival celebrations on the Carmel, and they do not care that the only Arab theatre in the downtown area has been closed for three years," he said.

"Everyone who knows the background knows that the police's charlatan actions deepened the feuds in the neighborhoods. In the May events they arrested over 200 young Arab protestors but released feuding criminals knowing fully well what would happen in the streets," Farah continued, referring to the rioting in the mixed Jewish and Arab-Israeli cities during Operation Guardian of the Walls.

"In order to silence the criticism they announced that they will deploy 120 Border Police [to the city], but whoever tracked them saw them standing idly and bored, while drinking coffee, energy drinks and racking up extra hours. The Haifa police station has not had a commander for months, and the community policing has disappeared," he said.

"The national education system and the failed welfare authorities deserted hundreds of families and at-risk youth, who then become soldiers in this war. The municipality's Community Department did not even bother to bring together the neighborhood activists in order try to bring about a ceasefire between the feuding gangs," he said.

THIS YEAR has seen a 22% increase in illegal weapons infractions, Israel Police commissioner Kobi Shabtai said in a presentation to top police brass on Thursday.

Shabtai said that there has been a 32% increase in arrests in the number of indictments and 30% in arrests.

Some 4,732 arrests were made since the beginning of the year for infractions related to gun ownership and shooting, of which 92% were in the Arab community.

430 pistols, 120 semi-automatic rifles and over 400 guns were seized, as well as thousands of bullets and other ammunition.

In the past year, there has been a 7% increase in extortion of 'protection' money by criminal gangs, and 241 out of the 1,076 cases ended in indictments, the most in five years.

The commissioner said that police was in the correct direction in fighting illegal gun use, and that he will push for a bill that will require a minimum of a year in prison for people caught with illegal weapons.

Dr. Thabet abu-Ras, a founding partner of the Abraham Initiatives, responded on Friday to the commissioner's presentation.

"Just yesterday we saw that the commissioner talks about seizing weapons and arresting most of the youngsters involved in crime, but he does not mention how many people have been released after these arrests and how many of them have resulted in indictments," he said.

"We want the police to enter into the thick of the fray, get to all of the crime gangs and seize weapons, but what matters is the results. The results continue to be bad, [as] with this murder [of Mougrabi]." 

"The central issue is personal safety. People are afraid to leave their homes because today shots are heard not just at night, but in broad daylight."