A candidate for mayor of Nazareth and two other men were shot and injured in the northern city Monday night, authorities said.
Musab Dukhan was brought to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa in stable condition and awake, the hospital said.
Police said the three victims, including Dukhan’s brother and cousin, according to Hebrew media reports, were lightly injured in the attack.
The shooting came amid an unrelenting violent crime wave in Israeli Arab communities that has increasingly spilled into municipal politics.
Police said the three were lightly injured and were evacuated to the city’s Holy Family Hospital.
Police were reportedly looking into the incident’s background and suspected it was politically motivated.
The shooting was the latest to target local Arab politicians amid a broader crime wave in the community.
Dukhan, a current council member who is running for mayor of the country’s largest Arab city in the October 31 election, was also targeted a month ago with shots fired toward his home, although no one was hurt in that incident.
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He recently took part in a meeting aimed at acting against the violent crime epidemic gripping the Arab community, saying, “We must protest against the violence and the murder, and not let it pass in silence. We need to be strong and not give up. It isn’t enough to speak. The struggle could give us personal safety.”
Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would involve the Shin Bet security service in assisting police operations in combating some crime in the Arab community, particularly when it came to crime related to municipal elections.
On Sunday, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich agreed to finally release long-awaited funds to Arab municipalities that he had recently frozen over ostensible concerns they would reach criminal gangs, pending the implementation of an oversight mechanism.
Several candidates have been shot in recent weeks in attacks blamed on organized crime.
Benny Gantz, head of the opposition National Unity party, commented on Monday’s incident by calling for the ouster of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, a far-right politician who is in charge of police and who campaigned heavily on fighting Arab crime in last year’s general election, only for criminal violence to surge during his term.
“Another difficult evening,” Gantz said. “Children don’t feel safe to walk in the streets, election candidates are threatened and crime is rampant everywhere. In a properly run country, with a prime minister running things, the minister in charge of this failure would have ended his term. But Netanyahu, who depends on extremists, is choosing to let the lawlessness continue. He’s responsible.”
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A tally by the Abraham Initiatives, an anti-violence advocacy group, says that 157 of those killed so far this year have been part of the Arab community — more than double the figure for the same period last year.
In a shocking crime last week, four people were murdered in a mass shooting in the northern town of Abu Snan, one of them a mayoral candidate.
A day earlier, Tira’s city manager, Abdul Rahman Kashua, was shot dead.