Police pressured to curb lawlessness in South

Two incidents of 'lawlessness' made the prime minister order a crackdown.

Police chat near a patrol car  (photo credit: MARK PROBST / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Police chat near a patrol car
Facing a wave of violent crime in the Negev, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Monday to take steps to ensure that laws in the South will be enforced better.
A groom from the South who was arrested Sunday after a video was distributed showing gun fire at his wedding, was released by the police Monday. He said he was not involved in any shooting surrounding the wedding.
In the video, which went viral late last week, various men with their faces covered were seen shooting with rifles toward the sky as they leaned out of their moving vehicles. The convoy was said to be part of a wedding in the Beduin village of Segev Shalom.
On Monday, masked men approached an intersection on Road 4 near Beersheba and attacked drivers who were stopping at the intersection. Videos of the attacks were posted on social media and broadcast Monday night on Israeli news shows.
“The law applies to everyone,” Netanyahu said at a meeting of the Ministerial Committee on the Arab sector. “We cannot tolerate violating the law and we will take action.”
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan announced on Sunday that he would bring to a vote a bill he wrote with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked that would drastically increase the punishment for the illegal firing of arms. The bill would set a minimum five-year sentence for firing in a residential area, on streets or in any other place where life was endangered.
Erdan said he would convene an emergency meeting in the South with the head of the Israel Police’s Southern District, the local head of the Border Police and other relevant officials. The police will be asked to present its plans for additional law enforcement.
“The fight against violence and the foul play in the streets in the South must be stepped up,” Erdan said. “The police will beef up its presence in the South and other areas that have suffered from violence.”