For years, I have been crying out for the eradication of crime. Not out of self-righteousness, nor out of a naïve aspiration for the creation of an idyllic society. I cried out in the Knesset plenum. I poured my anguish over the pages of the press. I cried out in speeches I delivered in Ashdod and Hod Hasharon, in the Golan Heights in the North of Israel, and in the southernmost city of Eilat. I spoke of it at conferences and demonstrations.
I cried out because the level of crime and violence here has, long ago, become such that cannot be contained in any society which seeks a decent level of well-being for its people.
Nowhere in the world has there been unrestrained crime in contained geographical areas, which has not spilled over – first to nearby neighborhoods, and later, to society as a whole. These are simply the laws of crime. It is limitless and unrestrained.
In recent days, decision-makers woke up to a grim reality in which the CEO of Tira Municipality and four candidates in the Druze local council, Abu Snan, were murdered. Many expressed shock. Others pointed out that red lines were crossed this time. Frankly, it is beyond me how anyone at all can claim to be surprised. Why were “red lines crossed” only now, when children and women are slaughtered every week in the incessant war of criminals against citizens of the State of Israel?
Anything less than war against crime would be ridiculous and insufficient
The phenomenon has become so great, that the only word that describes the required response from authorities is one: War. Anything less would be ridiculous and insufficient. Significant police forces, intelligence, technological means, and economic, constitutional, and legal tools must come together under one umbrella in order to allow the law enforcement agencies to carry out their work and for it not to be in vain.
There is no point in reinforcing the police when there is no more room in prisons. There is no point in opening more police stations when there are not enough police officers. There is no point in carrying out excellent intelligence work by police detectives when legislation against criminals is not strict enough.
Strict legislation is not enough without a drastic change in the approach of the courts, which in many cases are too compassionate. It is not possible to gather enough evidence when police officers must receive permission from the court prior to seizing cameras from business and home owners.
Until the warrants are ready, the perpetrators have enough time to eliminate evidence. It makes no sense to expect frightened citizens to speak up and provide police with evidence when they know that they, or their family members, will become targets a moment later.
If the process is partial, it will not cure the disease. The treatment must be comprehensive and include all authorities and government offices. The plans for the execution of a comprehensive policy are written, ready, and collecting dust in various government offices.
BEFORE THOROUGHLY dealing with the fundamental problems in the Arab Israeli society, such as education, infrastructure, and more, a war of attrition must be declared against the evil scourge called crime. That is simply because the phenomenon has become so great that it no longer allows for procrastination with long-term plans. It demands an immediate and uncompromising response as a crucial first step.
Criminal organizations, which operate out of greed and the pursuit of power, are not only brutal, but form well-organized infrastructures for hostile elements, which may have an interest in sowing chaos and causing terror within Israel.
The number of illegal weapons circulating among criminal elements in the country is nothing short of a recipe for a fratricidal war, the beginnings of which we all saw as early as May 2021, during Operation Guardian of the Walls.
First, current criminal dimensions must be eradicated. Only after that, and in order for the phenomenon not to re-emerge, the government must pay attention to making the Arab society an integral part of society as a whole.
That is, in order for society as a whole to be able to conduct itself normally, without every business being forced to pay extortion fees, without fear that a stray bullet will kill innocent civilians, without farmers collapsing under the burden of terrorism that has been waged against them for years by criminal elements, and without mothers being afraid to send their children to buy groceries.
And to whom is my outcry directed? To the prime minister of Israel and no one else. At this stage, and given the current situation, only the prime minister can, and must bring together all the relevant factors, and declare a definitive war against crime.
The writer is the founder and CEO of Ruth-Strategic Consulting, a former MK for the National Unity Party, a former deputy ambassador to Cairo, and a past adviser to president Shimon Peres.