Israel's latest Arab murder victim is a wake-up call - editorial

17-year-old Razan Abbas was shot and died in her father's arms while in her bedroom.

A protest against the rising crime and violence in the Arab sector in Israel, Jaffa, Saturday, February 6, 2021. (photo credit: SASSONI AVSHALOM)
A protest against the rising crime and violence in the Arab sector in Israel, Jaffa, Saturday, February 6, 2021.
(photo credit: SASSONI AVSHALOM)

This week, once again, we woke up to horrifying news.

Razan Abbas, a 17-year-old honor student was killed while sitting at home in the northern village of Kafr Kanna on Wednesday night.

Her family’s testimony was devastating.

“I ran to her room when I heard her yell, ‘Dad! Dad!” Razan’s father told KAN. “The bullet came from the opposite direction. It hit her before we could do anything. I didn’t know what to do. She fell immediately.”

The family blamed the police for not doing enough to prevent this horrible murder. “She died in my hands,” the uncle said. “It wasn’t a normal bullet that hit her. It was an AK-47 bullet that punctured her chest. They didn’t shoot from an underground position,” implying the perpetrators were visible to all. “They were shooting from above, from the rooftops. On Saturday there was another shooting incident that took over 30 minutes. Where is the police?”

 ISRAELI ARABS block a road in Tel Aviv in October as they protest against violence and recent killings in their communities. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90) ISRAELI ARABS block a road in Tel Aviv in October as they protest against violence and recent killings in their communities. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

Abbas died in a place we all see as the safest place that one could have: her own bedroom. Her tragic murder adds to a long list of unfortunate deaths of those caught in the crossfire of violence in the Arab sector.

In January, four-year-old Amar as-Shiekh Hujairat was killed while playing in a local playground in his home village of Beir al-Maksour in the North.

On August 31, 30-year-old teacher Shareefa Abu Mua’mar was shot to death in her kitchen in Ramla while preparing for the new school year.

Three days before that, 18-year-old Anas al-Wahwah, a high school graduate who finished his studies with distinction, was killed by a strain bullet while sitting in a car in his hometown of Lod.

According to an Abraham Initiatives report, 17 Arab citizens have been killed in violent incidents in the first 10 weeks of 2022. Nine of them were under age 30.

Last year 126 Arab citizens lost their lives in the ongoing raging violence in the Arab streets.

With such numbers, stats, and horrific stories, how come the larger public is still silent?

Several private companies announced last month that they are raising the price of some commodities such as pasta and Bamba.

The public went wild. The eight o’clock news dedicated a large portion of their broadcasts to the topic, and there was speculation that the economic plan presented by the finance minister was in part to combat that rise.

Israelis protested against the move on social media and called to boycott Ossem’s pasta. According to Ynet, their pasta sales dropped by 20% during that period.

On February 16, thousands gathered in Habima Square in a demonstration against these big companies.

Yet on the issue of violence in Arab communities, there are no protests, and social media remains silent. Where is everyone in the struggle to live safely in the most intimate places of our home, in our bedrooms and kitchen?

Why doesn’t the Israeli public see this as a problem that should be dealt with?

People mistakenly think that the problems of the Arabs are theirs only, but that’s a false assumption.

A mobster that shoots for 30 straight minutes in broad daylight in Jaljulya will not hesitate to do the same in Kfar Saba when he has the chance.

A spillover of gunfire by Arab mafias into Jewish neighborhoods and towns is only a matter of time, especially if no one takes serious action against it soon.

But it is not only the ‘what about me’ factor. Solidarity in society is important, never more so than today.

If we believe that our children should be safe when going to a nearby playground, going to school, or just hanging out near the house, we should also fight for the right of others to have the same privilege.

It is time that the “change government,” which is starting to look more and more like the old one, starts taking a real stance against this horrible phenomenon.

People in Israel have the right to live in safety – especially in their homes. Whether they’re Jewish or Arab.