Man shoots dead 73-year-old mother, brother; 2nd brother in serious condition

Suspect arrested and weapon seized after attack in northern town of Reineh; police say incident arose from ‘family dispute’

Police investigate a shooting in the northern town of Reineh, December 2, 2020 (Israel Police)
Police investigate a shooting in the northern town of Reineh, December 2, 2020 (Israel Police)

A man was arrested on Wednesday morning on suspicion of shooting his 73-year-old mother and two brothers in the northern town of Reineh.

The Holy Family Hospital in Nazareth later announced that the mother and one of the brothers, aged 39, had died as a result of their wounds.

The other brother remained in serious condition.

Police said that they seized the weapon used in the attack and that an initial investigation determined that the man, 51, shot his relatives due to an unspecified “family dispute.”

Last month a governmental initiative to combat violence in Arab society was presented at a Knesset committee meeting. The Knesset Committee on Violence in Arab Society was formed after mass protests by Arab Israelis in fall 2019 against the spread of organized crime in their towns and cities.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a committee meeting three weeks ago and vowed that the long-awaited proposal to fight organized crime and violence in Arab Israeli communities would be brought for approval by the government within two weeks. However, that has yet to happen.

The wide-ranging plan was drafted by the Prime Minister’s Office in consultation with a raft of Arab civil society figures. Among dozens of recommendations, it would work to strengthen police activity in Arab communities, integrate young Arab men in the workforce, implement various methods to ensure that state funds stay out of the hands of organized crime, and increase the penalties for illegal arms possession.

Arab Israelis constitute 20 percent of the country’s population, but accounted for 67% of the country’s homicides in 2019, according to the Haaretz daily.

According to a 2019 study by the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit, which works to advance shared society initiatives in Israel, 60.5% of Arab Israelis reported a sense of personal insecurity in their hometowns due to violence, compared with only 35% of Arab Israelis in 2018. By comparison, only 12.8% of Jews reported such a feeling.

Arab Israeli policymakers have long blamed the violence on what they say is an unwillingness by the Israel Police to root out organized crime in their communities.

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