A 43-year-old man who was shot on Friday in the northern town of Umm al-Fahm succumbed to his wounds at a hospital on Monday.
Ghanim Jabareen was the 98th victim of apparent homicide in Arab society in 2021, according to a tally by the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit. The organization said that 81 of those killed this year were victims of gun violence.
Jabareen, a father of three, was shot as he left a mosque in the town on Friday evening. He was a lawyer. It was not known if his work was related to his killing. Police have opened an investigation.
A relative said it was not immediately clear to them why he was targeted.
“We still do not know who hit him and what they wanted from him. He was an honest and beloved man. We did not feel threatened at all — if he had known of a threat he would not have left his house and gone to the mosque,” the unnamed relative told the Ynet news site.
The outlet said Jabreen was the sixth person to be murdered this year in Umm al-Fahm.
Jabareen’s death was the second in Arab society within 48 hours: Issam Salti, 24, was shot dead on Saturday evening in his home in the northern village of Ilut, apparently as the result of stray gunfire. Salti, a newlywed, was killed by a bullet fired during a fight between two families in the village. He was presumed to have had no involvement in the dispute.
Police said five people were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the shooting.
Violent crime has risen to record levels in Arab communities in recent years.
Authorities have vowed to devote more resources to battle crime in Arab locales, as a series of recent shootings triggered the online #Arab_Lives_Matter campaign to protest the alleged lack of police action.
In an attempt to battle the ongoing violence and crime in Israel’s Arab community, Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai is personally pushing to allow the use of controversial, far-reaching measures employed only by the Shin Bet security service, according to reports on Sunday.
Hebrew-language television networks said Shabtai wants the police to be allowed to use administrative detentions — a controversial measure commonly employed against Palestinian terror suspects in the West Bank, as well as some extremist settlers, in which suspects can be held for extended periods of time without leveling formal charges against theme — against suspected Arab Israeli criminals. Israel has not previously employed the measure to fight crime.
However, deputy public security minister Yoav Segalovitz, the government czar for the fight against violence in the Arab community, said Monday that the use of administrative detention or preventing meetings between suspects and their attorneys was “not on the agenda.”
Both government officials and civil society experts say the violence in the Arab community is the fruit of decades of state neglect.
Over half of Arab Israelis live under the poverty line. Their towns and cities often have crumbling infrastructure, poor public services and few job prospects, leading some young people to collaborate with organized crime.