The Israel Police and Israel Tax Authority are taking a novel approach to cracking down on those involved in criminal organizations in the Arab sector, by providing suspected criminals with forms for declaring income and finances to explain how they have accumulated their capital, property, and vehicles.
The Israel Police announced on Thursday morning, that law enforcement agencies had created a list of 414 targets identified as crime bosses on the Arab street, who have accumulated large amounts of finance, real estate, and luxury items.
Officers and tax authority representatives arrived at the homes of their targets and provided them with declarations. They confirmed that this week alone, dozens of warrants had already been filed and that the State Attorney’s Office has begun filing against 21 of the suspects.
Since the beginning of the year, the police said that they had seized NIS 1.3 billion in illegal assets.
Police Intelligence Superintendent Shmuel Sharvit said the operation was conducted in accordance with the policies of National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Police Chief Kobi Shabtai. He said that they were hitting criminals in their pockets.
“Those perpetrators of crime will now have to give answers in the interrogation room about where their wealth came from and why they did not declare their property as is customary in the State of Israel,” said Sharvit. “The Israel Police’s persistent fight against black money cuts off the oxygen pipe of the criminal organizations.”
Sharvit noted that the police continued to fight against another aspect of surging crime – the illegal arms trade.
Since the year began, police have confiscated 1,233 pistols, 218 rifles, 493 improvised weapons, 54 shotguns, 453 different types of grenades, 231 explosive charges, and 166,176 rounds of ammunition.
Over 160 people have been killed in surging Arab sector criminal violence since the beginning of 2023, many of the murders carried out with illegal firearms.
New monitoring protocols
At a Thursday subcommittee meeting dedicated to countering the crime wave, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed a series of control mechanisms and economic packages to further weaken the criminal infrastructure.
“We are in a real war against serious crime in the Arab sector. The ministerial committee is promoting five very strong laws that will strengthen our ability to fight the criminal organizations,” said Netanyahu.
The package would provide the police with technological and administrative tools, and Netanyahu ordered a team to meet to discuss further cooperation between the police and Shin Bet on the matter.
A supervision mechanism would be introduced to monitor funds transfers and tender issuance in local councils, as well as an economic legislation basket to counter protection racketeering.
Roi Kahlon, who previously worked in the State Attorney’s Office on economic crimes, was appointed by Netanyahu as the project head for the government’s program against Arab sector crime.
“Addressing violence in Arab society is one of the most significant challenges facing the State of Israel today,” said Kahlon. “The citizens of the state face a wave of crime and violence that does not distinguish between woman or man, young or old, citizen or elected official, candidate or head of council.”
Kahlon said that his appointment signaled the seriousness in which the government was approaching the problem.
“All the partners in dealing with the national challenge are working together in order to bring about the eradication of criminal terrorism,” said Kahlon.