Ra'am leader Mansour Abbas volunteered to lead the efforts to eradicate crime in the Arab sector, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ignored his request, he told the Israel Hayom and Hashomer Hahadash "Governance and Personal Security" conference on Tuesday.
During the conference, which focused mostly on the criminal protection rackets and violence in the Arab sector, various speakers were asked to weigh in on the latter issue as the discovery of two bodies brought the number of Arab victims of crime this year to 169.
This puts the average at one person murdered every day and a half – a number that has almost doubled compared to this time last year.
Israelis feel less safe, don't trust the police
Alongside these numbers, a poll released at the conference showed that only 6% of Israelis reported that they felt personally safer in 2023 compared to last year. In comparison, 55% felt that their sense of safety had weakened to any degree.
Specifically in the Arab sector, the effect of higher murder rates means that a third of Arabs won't let their kids out of the house alone, and close to half wouldn't walk outside alone at night wherever they live. This number more than doubled among Arabs compared to Jews.
In terms of security forces, the IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) are trusted more than the Israel Police and the Border Police with the latter being trusted the least by Arabs (11%). For Jews, the least trusted agency was Israel Police who are only trusted by a quarter of people.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who 68% of people said that he hadn't fulfilled his campaign promises, said that the numbers look so bad because it takes more than eight months to make a difference.
He also blamed the media for his poor approval ratings saying that it doesn't report on his successes because "no one wants to praise Ben-Gvir."
He added that he was discouraged from becoming national security minister but that he did it anyway because it was the biggest challenge.
"I'm delighted every day when I go home and check [another item on the list]," he said.
Abbas, who used to lead the Knesset's committee to fight crime in the Arab sector, claimed that the government wasn't doing enough, however, saying that national law enforcement had to take more responsibility instead of leaving the local authorities to deal with the issue.
In terms of what needs to be done to solve the problem, Abbas said that house arrests and electronic bracelets had to be implemented to limit the movement of known criminals. Furthermore, he said, they need to be kept from influencing local elections, and their economic ventures have to be eliminated.
Abbas chose not to attend a meeting held by Netanyahu with the leaders of the Arab parties in June to discuss the issue, but he said he sent a letter to Netanyahu with his recommendations and never heard back about it. Nor was his suggestion to lead the issue given a response.
"Every time we meet and then do nothing, it crushes the efforts and increases criminal activity," he said. "As far as they're concerned, the government doesn't take an interest in the matter, and they tell themselves 'we'll do as we please.'"Mansour Abbas
"Every time we meet and then do nothing, it crushes the efforts and increases criminal activity," he said. "As far as they're concerned, the government doesn't take an interest in the matter, and they tell themselves 'we'll do as we please,'" he said.