Public security minister declares plans to stamp out gunfire at Arab weddings

Public security minister

firing in air 63 (photo credit: )
firing in air 63
(photo credit: )
Celebratory gunfire at Arab weddings "will end" in the near future, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch vowed on Tuesday during an appearance at the Knesset's Internal Affairs Committee. Aharonovitch was discussing steps being taken by his ministry to increase security in peripheral areas around the country, and addressed the growing problem of the availability of firearms within the Israeli-Arab community and among Jewish Israelis as well. "Firing [weapons] at weddings must stop," the public security minister said. "Shooting incidents within the community will be reduced dramatically in 2010, and so will incidents involving possession of explosives and firearms. Arson will be dealt with seriously," he added. "I have asked the police commissioner to draw up a program that places these goals at its center for 2010. Enforcement and intelligence regarding illegal weapons will be employed," Aharonovitch said. The public security minister said civil national service programs for Israeli Arabs were "expanding daily." He added that national service programs would be expanded within the haredi community too. "Minorities and members of the haredi community are going into high gear - by 2010 there will be hundreds within the national service program - in Magen David Adom, firestations... and other areas," he said. Aharonovitch vowed to increase the number of police stations in peripheral areas - currently, he said, the Israel Police maintains 82 stations in such locations. Turning his attention to drug-smuggling, Aharonovitch said narcotics from abroad were continuing to flow into Israel, noting that "the Syrian border is very active." Twenty one kilograms of heroin and 11 kilograms of hashish were intercepted at the Israeli - Syrian border this year, he said. Terrorist activity was sometimes linked to the drug trade, Aharonovitch said, adding that security forces have greatly reduced drug smuggling along the southern border. "I advised the prime minister to construct a dumb fence [without electronic sensors] on the Egyptian border, which would cost millions rather than billions [of shekels]," Aharonovitch said.