2 more killings bring yearly violent death toll in Israel’s Arab sector to 101

Man shot dead in northern village of Kabul, apparently part of long-running dispute between families; in separate incident, man killed in southern town of Rahat

Police investigate a shooting in the northern town of Reineh, December 2, 2020 (Israel Police)
FILE -- Police investigate a shooting in the northern town of Reineh, December 2, 2020 (Israel Police)

Two men were killed in separate overnight incidents in the north and south of Israel, taking the annual death toll in Arab society as a result of violent incidents to 101.

Jamal Ahmad, 27, from the village of Kabul in the north of the country was killed when a fight broke out as part of an extended dispute between families. Police said in a statement that they carried out operations in the area to identify suspects, but there was no mention of arrests.

At around the same time, Yosef Mahrus Suleiman Abu Sata was shot dead in the southern town of Rahat was shot dead. Police said they opened an investigation into the incident.

The Kan public broadcaster reported Abu Sata was from the West Bank city of Nablus.

View of the Bedouin city of Rahat in southern Israel, on April 8, 2019. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Tallies by Hebrew-language news outlets put Ahmad and Abu Sata’s deaths as the 100th and 101st killings within Arab society this year.

The killings came days after a man was arrested on Wednesday morning on suspicion of shooting his 73-year-old mother and two brothers in the northern town of Reineh.

The Holy Family Hospital in Nazareth later announced that the mother and one of the brothers, aged 39, had died as a result of their wounds. The other brother remained in serious condition.

Police said that they seized the weapon used in the attack and that an initial investigation determined that the man, 51, shot his relatives due to an unspecified “family dispute.”

Last month a governmental initiative to combat violence in Arab society was presented at a Knesset committee meeting. The Knesset Committee on Violence in Arab Society was formed after mass protests by Arab Israelis in fall 2019 against the spread of organized crime in their towns and cities.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at a committee meeting three weeks ago and vowed that the long-awaited proposal to fight organized crime and violence in Arab Israeli communities would be brought for approval by the government within two weeks. However, that has yet to happen.

The wide-ranging plan was drafted by the Prime Minister’s Office in consultation with a raft of Arab civil society figures. Among dozens of recommendations, it would work to strengthen police activity in Arab communities, integrate young Arab men in the workforce, implement various methods to ensure that state funds stay out of the hands of organized crime, and increase the penalties for illegal arms possession.

Arab Israelis constitute 20 percent of the country’s population, but accounted for 67% of the country’s homicides in 2019, according to the Haaretz daily.

According to a 2019 study by the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit, which works to advance shared society initiatives in Israel, 60.5% of Arab Israelis reported a sense of personal insecurity in their hometowns due to violence, compared with only 35% of Arab Israelis in 2018. By comparison, only 12.8% of Jews reported such a feeling.

Arab Israeli policymakers have long blamed the violence on what they say is an unwillingness by the Israel Police to root out organized crime in their communities.

read more: