Two shot dead near Tel Sheva in suspected underworld hit

Dozens of local residents riot after pair found in car at entrance to northern Negev Bedouin town, amid accusations of police indifference to violence-wracked communities

The scene of a suspected double murder at the entrance to the Bedouin town of Tel Sheva, November 4, 2019. (Magen David Adom)
The scene of a suspected double murder at the entrance to the Bedouin town of Tel Sheva, November 4, 2019. (Magen David Adom)

Two men in their 20s were found shot to death Monday evening inside a car near the entrance to the Bedouin town of Tel Sheva, near Beersheba, police said.

Hebrew-language media reports said police were treating the incident as an underworld hit, following a conflict between two local gangs. The reports said the victims, both said to be about 25 years old, were members of the Bedouin community.

Magen David Adom medics declared the men dead at the scene.

Police said an investigation had been opened and that officers were searching the area for suspects.

Following the shooting, hundreds of locals gathered at the scene and clashed with police.

If the victims are confirmed to be Bedouin, it would increase the number of murders within Israel’s Arab community this year to 82.

Arab community leaders are currently on a three-day hunger strike, and have set up a protest tent near the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, opposing the failure to adequately deal with the wave of criminal violence within the community.

The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, the top representative umbrella organization for Arab Israelis, announced the steps on Sunday, after two members of the community were killed Friday in criminal violence.

Members of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel and Arab Israeli Knesset members hold a press conference at a protest tent in front of the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on November 3, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ahmed Dabbah, head of the Deir al-Asad Local Council and a former Knesset member, said: “I have been warning for years about the illegal weapons. Now, Jews and Arabs alike need to join the battle against crime. I want calm in the community.”

Tens of thousands of people have held protests in Arab towns over the past few weeks, demanding police step up enforcement to make their streets safe. The demonstrations kicked off with a general strike among the community.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last Tuesday announced the formation of a committee to combat violence in the Arab community.

Israeli Arabs protest against violence, organized crime and recent killings in their communities, in the Arab town of Majd al-Krum, in northern Israel, on October 3, 2019. (Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)

The team is tasked with formulating within 90 days a national program to eradicate violence and crime in Arab society.

Arab leaders say the Israel Police largely ignores the violence in their communities, including everything from family feuds and mafia turf wars to domestic violence and so-called honor killings.

Police adamantly reject the allegations of indifference and say they are doing everything they can to stem the violence. They say local leaders need to do more to cooperate with police and to prevent violence.

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