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Barlev says authorities were ‘very surprised’ by Arab Israeli violence in May

Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev says rioting by members of the Arab Israeli community in May, that led to the worst ethnic violence between Jews and Arabs in decades, took authorities by surprise and was fueled, in part, by organized crime families that are crossing the line between criminal and nationalist crime.

“The outbreak by the Arab population during Operation Guardian of the Walls very much surprised the country. We weren’t prepared for that,” Bar Lev tells a conference on anti-terror policy hosted at the Reichman University in Herzliya, on Sunday.

However, he applauded the police response to the deadly violence.

“Israel Police acted correctly, despite all the criticism,” says Bar Lev, who at the time of the unrest was still an opposition lawmaker.

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