Two men killed, one severely injured in Shfaram shooting

Killings bring number of Arabs murdered this year to 61, Abraham Initiatives says, four more than this time last year

Illustrative: Police at the scene of a double murder in Isfiya, northern Israel, April 13, 2024. (Israel Police)
Illustrative: Police at the scene of a double murder in Isfiyah, northern Israel, April 13, 2024. (Israel Police)

Two men were killed in a shooting in the northern city of Shfaram Tuesday night, according to Israel Police.

Police said the victims, aged 22 and 35, were residents of the city. Hebrew media identified them as Taher Abdallah and Omer Su’ad, respectively.

An 18-year-old man was also severely injured in the altercation in the Galilee city.

The killings add to an already record-setting murder rate in the Arab community, which has been wracked by rampant violence fueled by organized crime and alleged police inaction over the last several years.

In security camera footage from the scene posted on social media, two men can be seen riding up to a building on a motorcycle and opening fire. One man runs out and is shot at as he tries to flee, and a man also emerges from the building and fires at the two motorcyclists. The motorcycle driver shoots back and then leaves the scene without his companion.

The Abraham Initiatives anti-violence watchdog group said the deaths brought the number of Arab Israelis who have been killed in violent crime since the start of 2024 to a record 61, of which 53 were shot dead.

During the same period in 2023, 57 Arab Israelis had been killed. That year saw 244 violent deaths in the Arab community, nearly double the previous record set in 2021.

Many Arab Israeli community leaders put the blame on the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence, which includes family feuds, mafia turf wars and violence against women.

The communities have also suffered from years of neglect by state authorities. More than half of Arab Israelis live below the poverty line, and their cities and towns often have crumbling infrastructure and poor public services. The minister in charge of police, Itamar Ben Gvir, has a long history of incendiary comments and stances against Arab Israelis, and the community’s leaders have argued that his policies have only intensified the epidemic of violence over the last year.

For their part, authorities have blamed burgeoning organized crime and the proliferation of weaponry, while some have pointed to a failure by communities to cooperate with law enforcement to root out criminals.

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