Ra’am’s Abbas says Shin Bet not the solution to crime on Arab streets

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

Ra'am party head MK Mansour Abbas leads a faction meeting, at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 12, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ra'am party head MK Mansour Abbas leads a faction meeting, at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 12, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas dismisses proposals to involve the Shin Bet in fighting crime in Arab communities, saying the idea is not feasible.

“It points to an attitude that doesn’t deal with the issue seriously,” he says.
Instead, Abbas demands that the cabinet immediately deploy resources to combat crime in Arab society.

Opening his Islamist Arab party’s Knesset faction meeting, Abbas says he expects the government to next week bring a new cabinet decision “that puts this issue at the top of priorities for the government,” alongside manpower and funds to take action.

“We continue to move towards a real catastrophe and a real crisis that affects all areas of Arab society,” Abbas says, as 102 Arab Israelis were killed in violent circumstances since the start of 2023 — a threefold increase over the same period last year.

Two weeks ago, Ra’am sent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a letter outlining requests to improve personal security. Today, Abbas says he “still hasn’t received any response.”

Earlier this morning, the government razed five illegally built homes in the Bedouin village of Ar’arat an-Naqab, located in the southern Negev region.

“What are the priorities? What’s so urgent for Netanyahu’s government to destroy homes on this day?” Abbas says.

“We’re still licking our wounds,” the Ra’am chief adds, saying that Arab society “feels abandoned” by the government.

Last week, Ra’am snubbed a Netanyahu-hosted meeting to discuss crime in Arab society, calling it a “show” and letting the premier sit down alone with Hadash-Ta’al.

Ra’am and Hadash-Ta’al, the only two majority-Arab parties in the Knesset, are currently in a near-complete communication breakdown.

When asked by The Times of Israel why Ra’am is not collaborating with the other Knesset party placing this issue at the top of its list, Abbas said that Hadash-Ta’al’s “attitude brought us to this point.”

The party also blames Hadash-Ta’al, which criticized Ra’am’s 2021 decision to mainstream into an Israeli coalition, for toppling the coalition of which it was part and helping to return Netanyahu to power.

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