Jamal Hakrush has been tapped to become the first Arab Muslim promoted to deputy commissioner in the Israel Police.
Hakrush, a career police officer who hails from the Galilee village of Kafr Kanna, will take up the role at the helm of a new police unit aimed at fighting the disproportionate amount of crime within Israel’s Arab community, police confirmed.
Police spokeswoman Luba Samri refused to go into detail regarding the expected appointment, only saying that Hakrush was qualified and had many accomplishments. “He is a suitable candidate to do this job,” she said.
Commissioner Roni Alsheich announced the new initiative on Tuesday during an “appreciation day” for police in the Knesset. He explained its necessity due to “frighteningly high” rates of domestic violence, murder, illegal weapons possession, and other crimes in the Arab sector.
At a meeting of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, Alsheich said that although Arabs constitute 21 percent of Israel’s population, they account for 58% of total crimes, 55% of attempted murders, 47% of thefts, and 27% drug dealing.
“This picture is not only of concern to the police, but also to the Arab community itself,” he said. “There is a strong desire to strengthen policing in the Arab community. I met dozens of heads of Arab local authorities and discovered that there was great willingness. ‘Just send in the police already,’ they told me.”
The new program, the brainchild of Alsheich and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, seeks to recruit 1,300 new officers, and build dozens of new stations in Arab areas of the country.
Mujahid Awawida, the mayor of the Hakrush’s hometown of Kafr Kanna in northern Israel, praised the program, particularly as it related to combating the prevalence of illegal firearms.
“Guns are a tool for killing, not a tool of peace,” he told Army Radio Thursday. “I call on the prime minister to take the matter with the utmost gravity. There should be no guns in the home.”
“Hakrush is a good and faithful man, and he can do the job properly,” he said of the reported appointee. “He is a son of the village and my friend and I congratulate him on the appointment. There is no council head who is against participation in the project to confiscate firearms.”
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