Aharonovitch: Forget stats, public feels unsafe

During tour of south Tel Aviv, Aharonvich says African migrants should be given "1000 shekels and plane ticket out."

South Tel Aviv house hit by Molotov cocktail_370 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
South Tel Aviv house hit by Molotov cocktail_370
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch acknowledged the public’s widespread sense of lack of security on Wednesday as a crime wave continued to dominate headlines.
“I don’t care about a drop in criminal acts. The public’s sense of security is number one,” Aharonovitch said during a walking tour of south Tel Aviv.
The minister addressed recent serious crimes in Beersheba, where a father of two was stabbed to death on May 10 for asking youths to keep the noise down, and in Tel Aviv, where a Palestinian allegedly raped a girl at knifepoint and assaulted her boyfriend on Friday.
“These incidents don’t give a good feeling to the public. There is no sense of security,” he said.
Aharonovitch added that he requested government funds for thousands of additional officers, enabling the public to sense the police around them, but said that his request has not yet been answered.
Aharonovitch’s comments came after Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino told a Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee that despite the recent crime wave, incidents of serious violent crime were actually down this year.
Nevertheless, he acknowledged the sense of fear caused by random street violence, and said, “We are fighting for the face of Israeli society. This is a strategic issue, no less so than the Iranian threat.”
During his appearance in the south Tel Aviv neighborhood, Aharonovitch met with locals, and heavily criticized Interior Minister Eli Yishai for the failure of the Oz Immigration unit to begin delivering illegal migrants to a prison facility built in central Israel.
“They asked us to create prison places. We prepared 2,000 places, but we have not been brought even a single prisoner,” he said.
Anywhere between 300 and 500 illegal African migrants were entering the country every week from Egypt, Aharonovitch added.
He proposed focusing on stopping the flow of infiltrators, and giving those in Israel the incentive of leaving by providing them with NIS 1,000 and plane ticket out of the country.
Earlier on Wednesday, Yishai told Army Radio that all illegal African migrants should be imprisoned, adding that most of them were involved in crime. He said only a small minority of them were asylum-seekers, and those should be allowed to stay.
A Knesset survey from 2011 found that “crime rates among infiltrators and asylum-seekers remain lower than those of the general population.”