President Reuven Rivlin met Wednesday with the mayor of an Israeli Arab town where a man was shot dead by a security guard earlier in the week as rioters attacked a local police station.
Kafr Qassem Mayor Adel Badir met with Rivlin and Israel Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem to discuss ways of restoring calm in the town.
They agreed to continue with efforts to boost law enforcement in the crime-ridden town, and in Arab towns and villages throughout the country. Local Arab leaders have long accused the police of neglecting their communities and allowing crime to flourish unchecked.
In the meeting, the sides agreed that “such activity requires full cooperation [from the community], led by Arab leaders, which will enable the return of law and order to the streets,” the President’s Residence said in a statement.
Kafr Qassem residents have criticized the police’s failure to crack down on crime in the city, which lies east of Tel Aviv.
The statement also said that a work meeting would be scheduled in the near future at the President’s Residence between senior police officials and heads of Arab local authorities.
Mohammed Taha, 27, was shot dead by a private security guard outside the town’s police station in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Taha was killed when the guard opened fire on rioters who were trying to storm the station. Police said the protest, sparked by the arrest of a local man, quickly turned violent, with police cars set on fire and officers pelted with stones.
MK Issawi Frej of the left-wing Meretz party sent a letter to Rivlin asking him to visit Kafr Qassem to quell tensions in the town, the Walla news site reported.
“The police post patrol cars at the entrance [to the town] and advise Jews not to enter,” Frej wrote. “It is important that anyone who cares about coexistence comes to Kafr Qassem in order to show that we won’t let suspicion and separation take root.”
Frej urged Jews to visit the town as a way of bringing peace to the town.
The guard who shot Taha, who has not been named in the media, was questioned by police and then allowed to go home. Taha’s father, Mahmoud, accused the guard of murder.
Police said that the guard acted according to regulations and that he, another guard, and a policeman were all in life-threatening danger, Channel 2 reported.