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Arab politicians, mayors block major highway in protest of community crime

Arab politicians, mayors and others block Route 6 in protest of rampant violent crime within the community, October 28, 2021. (Joint List)
Arab politicians, mayors and others block Route 6 in protest of rampant violent crime within the community, October 28, 2021. (Joint List)

Dozens of Arab Israeli demonstrators block Israel’s central Route 6 highway to protest alleged government inaction to end the crime wave in Arab cities and towns.

Demonstrators leave Kafr Qara, in central Israel, in a convoy of vehicles headed for Jerusalem. Parliamentarians from the Joint List bloc of predominantly Arab parties, including Joint List chief Ayman Odeh, are present at the scene. Several Arab mayors have also joined the convoy, as well as Arab Israelis who lost loved ones to the ongoing violence.

“We’re living in a situation in which there are murders every two or three days. If our children can’t live normal lives, the rest of the country cannot go on normally,” Odeh says.

Arab Israelis have long lamented a dearth of law and order in their cities and towns, where they say police rarely care to solve homicides. But this year is poised to be the bloodiest on record, with 104 killings in the community recorded well before year’s end.

Arab politicians, mayors and others block Route 6 in protest of rampant violent crime within the community, October 28, 2021. (Joint List)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government has pledged to act to end the violence. On Sunday, the government advanced a NIS 2.4 billion five-year plan to end the violence; some more extreme measures, such as involving the Shin Bet security service and expanding police powers, are also being examined. The plan will now head to the Knesset, where it is set to be passed as part of the upcoming budget.

The Joint List has sharply criticized the plan, however. “This is a plan to kill 1,400 Arabs,” Odeh said on Tuesday in a video posted on his Facebook page, in which he argued the plan does not allocate enough resources to the problem.

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