Police officers will reportedly be required to learn Arabic as part of an effort by the Israel Police to improve policing among the country’s Arab population.
According to a report Sunday in the Israel Hayom daily, the aim of increasing the number of Arabic speakers in the police force will be to help combat the higher levels of crime among Israeli Arabs, by improving both intelligence and relations with Arab communities.
Furthermore, as Israeli law mandates that suspects be interrogated in their own language, the Arabic lessons would produce a greater number of officers able to interrogate Arabs suspected of crimes.
Although police recently requested that the Public Security Ministry establish a unit for the study of Arabic for officers, the Israel Hayom report did not say when the mandatory lessons would start.
As part of the efforts to combat crime in the Arab community, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich appointed an Arab deputy commissioner, Jamal Hakrush, last April.
Hakrush heads a new police division aimed at improving police services in Arab communities as part of an initiative announced by Alsheich to combat “frighteningly high” crime rates.