Israel's Arabs are unimpressed by politicians' promises to halt crime

3 months ago 28

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For the Arab community, the amount of olive oil produced has always been the acid test of how successful the olive harvest was. Now, it’s applying the same standard to the war on rampaging crime – the acid test will be how much, if at all, the number of victims declines.

The government has recently issued a flood of statements, plans and decisions on this issue, including some that have been submitted to the Knesset for approval and some that are awaiting the Finance Ministry’s okay. The prime minister, public security minister and senior police officers have been spouting cliches like “We’re at war,” “We’re losing the country” and “We have to restore governability.”

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But so far, the Arab community isn’t impressed. On Monday, the number of Arab murder victims so far this year climbed to 100 with the killing of Salim Hasarma of Ba’ana, and there are still more than two months left in 2021. Shootings have become routine, and organized crime is operating without hindrance.

Last week, members of the National Council of Arab Mayors were invited to meet with Deputy Public Security Minister Yoav Segalovitz so that he could explain the government’s crime fighting plan.

On paper, it’s a detailed plan that specifies what every ministry has to do. The stated goals include dismantling criminal organizations, reducing crime and violence in the Arab community, boosting feelings of personal security, increasing public trust in law enforcement agencies, more cooperation with Arab community leaders, empowering the Arab community, bolstering its resilience, reducing the number of murder victims and the number of violent crimes in general, boosting feelings of safety at school by reducing the number of violent incidents there, and reducing the number of Arabs aged 18 to 24 who aren’t in any fixed job or educational program.

Segalovitz told the mayors that the government has budgeted 2.4 billion shekels ($750 million) for this program, and the cabinet is supposed to approve it by mid-November. Mayors who attended the meeting said the plan sounded good. Nevertheless, it’s hard for them to get enthusiastic over promises, because they know that plans on paper often remain there.

Promises to fight violence in the Arab community have been heard from every possible platform over the last two years and the issue has been discussed nonstop. Yet so far, the situation hasn’t improved. In fact, the Arab community’s feelings of personal security are at an all-time low.

Government officials can argue that fighting violence is a complex process, and that allocating funds, passing legislation, preparing operational plans and gathering evidence all take time. But none of this will make the Arab community willing to extend the government’s grace period. On the contrary, time is pressing.

Initial preparations for local elections are already beginning in Arab towns, and local political battles combined with organized crime have always been fertile ground for increased violence. Consequently, the government would do well to move quickly from the slogan phase to the action phase. Because just like the olive harvest, it will be judged by the results.

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Fast Legal Services in Dubai

Fast Legal Services in Dubai