Ra’am’s Abbas says no answer from Netanyahu on demands to fight crime in Arab community

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a former political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Ra'am party head MK Mansour Abbas attends a Constitution Committee meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, on March 5, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)
Ra'am party head MK Mansour Abbas attends a Constitution Committee meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, on March 5, 2023. (Erik Marmor/Flash90)

Making a rare statement at the start of his Ra’am party’s Knesset faction meeting, Mansour Abbas — who leads the Islamist Arab party — says that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has given “no answer” to demands to fight crime in the Arab community, which claimed its 89th and 90th murder victims of 2023 only last night.

Abbas says that a week ago, the majority-Arab Hadash-Ta’al faction gave Netanyahu a letter outlining steps to improve security in Arab towns, a key concern for Arab citizens and their representatives.

“We have no answer,” Abbas says, adding that Ra’am has thrown its weight behind what Hadash-Ta’al describes as 12 “urgent demands” to fight crime and increase security.

The two parties are set to meet with Netanyahu this evening to discuss how to tackle Arab sector crime, during which Abbas says “we expect the prime minister to adopt the letter.”

In 2021, Abbas made history by bringing his Islamist faction into an Israeli coalition, a step he took in the name of building Arab-Jewish partnership and improving quality of life for Israel’s Arabs.

“We want to advance shared efforts,” he says, but on the other hand, “the goal isn’t sitting down itself, it’s to answer the requests of Arab society” and to get “results.”

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