Arab Israeli mayor’s home targeted by gunfire in north

40-year-old suspect arrested in Kafr Yasif; no injuries reported in incident

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Kafr Yasif Mayor Shadi Shweiri (Screenshot: Elhmra TV)
Kafr Yasif Mayor Shadi Shweiri (Screenshot: Elhmra TV)

The home of Kafr Yasif Mayor Shadi Shweiri was targeted by a barrage of gunfire late Sunday night, Arab Israeli news outlets reported on Monday.

Shweiri and his family were not present at their home at the time of the shooting, the Kul al-Arab news site reported, noting there were no casualties.

Kafr Yasif is a Christian-majority village in northern Israel near Acre.

The Israel Police said in a statement early Monday that it received a report at 11 p.m. the previous night that the local official’s home was targeted by gunfire.

Police said a suspect, a 40-year-old resident of Kafr Yasif, was arrested a few hours after the incident. It said the suspect, who was not named, would be brought before the Acre Magistrate’s Court for a hearing regarding the extension of his remand.

Several Arab Israeli news sites also reported that unidentified gunmen opened fire early Monday morning on cars and homes in Arraba, a village in the Galilee near Sakhnin.

Pictures posted on the Panet news site showed what appeared to be cars and a home damaged by gunfire.

In Ramle, Hundreds demonstrate against violence in Arab Israeli communities on October 15, 2019. (Courtesy:Joint List)

A police spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the incident, but Panet reported that an investigation has been opened.

Large numbers of Arab Israelis have participated in protests against violence in their communities in recent weeks, calling on authorities to take greater action to curb it.

In recent years, Arab Israelis have been involved in a disproportionately higher number of shootings relative to Jews. According to a 2018 State Comptroller report, the rate of gunfire-related violations was 17.5 times greater among Arabs than Jews between 2014 and 2016.

While many Arab Israeli politicians and activists maintain that the Israel Police has not taken sufficient action to crack down on violence in their towns, security officials have argued that they face challenges in gaining the trust of Arab Israelis to aid their investigations.

Joint List leader Ayman Odeh has called for a “government decision and a wide-ranging plan to eradicate violence and crime in Arab society.”

Since the start of October, Odeh, other Joint List leaders and the local Arab Israeli officials have held meetings with many top law enforcement officials to discuss violence in their communities.

During a meeting between Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Joint List members of October 11, the two sides agreed that 600 additional police officers would be allocated to Arab communities to fight crime, the Ynet news site reported at the time.

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