Almost 50% of extortion suspects in Israel are Arabs

Only 5 percent of extortion investigations resulted in a judicial decision.

By World Israel News Staff

A new report based off data released by the Israeli police found that nearly 50 percent of all suspects in extortion investigations are Arabs, a disproportionate amount considering that they constitute just 20 percent of the Jewish State’s population.

According to Arutz Sheva, a staggering 47 percent of alleged perpetrators of extortion-related crimes investigated by police between 2018 and 2020 were Arab Israelis.

These crimes typically involve a demand for “taxes” paid to local criminal organizations for operating a business in a specific area, and threats to commit property damage or physical harm to those who refuse to comply.

In a number of recent high profile cases, businesses belonging to people who don’t pay “protection” money to the gangs have been targeted by gunmen or set on fire.

The majority (23 percent) of the investigations focused on Israel’s northern region, where Arab citizens outnumber Jews. 20 percent of the investigations took place in the southern district, which has a sizable Bedouin Arab population.

66 percent of extortion investigations in Israel were eventually frozen due to lack of evidence, and in 78 percent of the cases, the police were unable to locate and arrest the suspected perpetrators.

Only 5 percent of the 4,735 extortion investigations conducted by the Israeli police in that two year period resulted in a judicial decision.

A judicial decision only means that the case eventually reached the court system and a trial was held, and does not indicate whether a suspect was convicted or acquitted. The data released by the police did not reveal whether or not a conviction was obtained.

Attorney Avichai Bar-On, chair of the Lavi NGO which focuses on good governance within the Jewish State, told Arutz Sheva that the data was indicative of Israel’s “abandonment” of business owners.

“It is hard to believe that anyone is surprised by this data,” Bar-On said, acknowledging that citizens have long complained about what they see as a lack of enforcement of law and order in Israel’s peripheral and Arab municipalities.

He said the data shows the “helplessness of the State of Israel when it comes to ensuring the security of its citizens” and added that the government “has woken up to this reality in a delay[ed] manner – it has been building up for many years, and now it may be too late.”