Two men shot dead within hours in Nazareth; police said to suspect criminal disputes

Homicides in Arab community rise to 118 since the start of 2024, four more than same period in record-breaking 2023; women organize protest march in Tamra against crime wave

Illustrative: A police car near a crime scene in Jerusalem, March 6, 2024. (Israel Police)
Illustrative: A police car near a crime scene in Jerusalem, March 6, 2024. (Israel Police)

Two men were murdered in two separate incidents in the northern Arab city of Nazareth on Friday, Hebrew media reported.

Rami Moreh, a Nazareth resident in his early 30s, was shot dead on Friday afternoon, after Sahr Arar, 23, also a resident of Nazareth, was shot dead overnight. Two men aged 21 and 24, were said to be seriously injured along with Arar.

Police reportedly suspect both incidents were related to criminal disputes.

The shootings came at the end of a week that saw a spike in violence within the Arab community.

On Tuesday, Ayman Abu Qatifan, 42, was shot dead in Lod, in central Israel. An hour later, Nabila Sandeen, 42, was shot dead outside her home in Jatt, near Haifa.

Haaretz cited a police source as saying that Sandeen was shot as part of a criminal dispute in which her husband was involved.

On Wednesday, a women’s group in Tamra, in northern Israel, organized a protest march against the rising crime.

According to Davar, an online news outlet run by the Histadrut labor union, the Tamra women’s group was launched in June, following the death of local accountant Ahmad Diab, who was reportedly shot by extortionists.

According to the Ynet news site, the number of homicides in the Arab community since the start of 2024 is now 118, up from 114 over the same period in 2023.

That year, according to the Abraham Initiatives coexistence advocacy group, had been the worst on record, with more than twice as many homicides in the Arab community as the previous year.

In its 2023 year-end report, the group pinned much of the blame for the surge in violence on Itamar Ben Gvir, Israel’s national security minister since the end of 2022. Ben Gvir, the organization said, had gutted a plan put in place by his predecessor, in cooperation with Arab municipal leaders, to stem the tide of crime in the Arab community.

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