Arab Israeli politician shot and killed in broad daylight

Once a prominent Likud activist, Dr. Saher Ismail was a close friend of Justice Minister and New Hope party chair Gideon Sa’ar.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

An Israeli politician who served as a senior advisor to Education Minister Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton was gunned down Sunday morning in front of his home in northern Israel.

Dr. Saher Ismail, who was placed 17th on the New Hope party list, was shot dead in the Arab municipality of Rameh while sitting in his car.

Once a prominent Likud activist, Ismail was a close friend of Justice Minister and New Hope party chair Gideon Sa’ar. He followed Sa’ar when he split off from the party in December 2020 to form New Hope.

In a statement released Sunday morning, Magen David Adom (MDA) said that Ismail had been killed instantly.

“When we arrived at the scene, we saw the wounded man suffering from [trauma] to his body. He was unconscious, with no heartbeat or breathing,” the statement said.

According to medics, Ismail had no vital signs and was declared dead at the scene.

“He was shot multiple times, that’s all I know,” Rameh council head Shawki Abu Latif told Ynet. “The whole town is shocked, and I think, why? I can’t find an answer.”

Latif told Ynet that despite rampant gun crime in other Arab municipalities, Rameh had not seen a murder of this nature for at least five or six years.

“But I wake up to a new morning of heinous murder, a cold-blooded murder. [They] murdered a respectable person…no reason in the world can justify this heinous murder.”

A relative of Ismail told Ynet, “If they killed Sahar Ismail, that means there are really no limits to crime. Maybe they will kill a minister or a council member or a cleric. We are all in danger and the police cannot be trusted.

“Sahar behaved as usual. We did not feel he was threatened. If there were threats, he would not have left the house.”

Ismail’s colleagues from the New Hope party expressed shock and sorrow over his murder.

Calling Ismail a “dear and beloved friend and partner”, Sa’ar wrote on Twitter that he was struggling to accept that he would never see Ismail again.

“I am confident that the police will find the vile murderers and bring them to justice,” he wrote.

Shasha-Biton uploaded a photo of Ismail to her Instagram page, writing that he was “a generous man who dedicated his life to public service and worked to promote Druze and Arab society and integrate them into the Israeli public.”

She added that she shares in the family’s grief and sends heartfelt condolences.

The news of Ismail’s slaying comes just days after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett launched an initiative aimed at fighting gun crime in Israel’s Arab community.

According to the Abraham Initiatives NGO, Ismail is the 70th Arab Israeli to be murdered in 2021.