“The trickle [of bloodshed] into the Jewish towns will become a flood,” said Muda Younes, mayor of Arara.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
On the heels of the 24th murder in Israel of an Arab citizen in 2021, the head of the National Union of Arab Municipalities is warning that the violence will eventually spill over into Jewish communities.
Mudar Younes, who is also the mayor of Arara, told journalists that while the violence is mostly contained within Arab localities for now, “the trickle [of bloodshed] into the Jewish towns will become a flood.”
“We live in real fear in our society, of the criminals, of weapons, of violence, a constant, unrelenting fear, and we cannot cope alone,” he said. “This is a problem for the country as a whole, and it is not staying within the boundaries of the Arab municipalities.”
Speaking during an event sponsored by the Givat Haviva Center for a Shared Society, Younes explained that Arab communities have reached a breaking point. Many Arab cities and towns are controlled by organized crime families or clan-based gangs, who issue death threats to anyone encroaching on their financial territory.
The influence of the gangs has penetrated local governments, with legitimate business people, such as contractors, forced to either pay-to-play or withdraw tenders for municipal projects.
According to Younes, there are some 500,000 illegally obtained weapons in the Arab community, most of which are assault rifles stolen from IDF bases. Because Israel has about 2 million Arab citizens, this means a ratio of about 1 gun for every 4 residents.
He brought up last week’s violent attack on Ashraf Khatib, the director-general of the Arab city of Qalansawe, as an example of how far out of control the violence has spiraled.
In an ambush-style attack, Khatib’s car was sprayed with bullets. The municipal worker was shot several times and is currently in a coma in a Petach Tikva hospital.
“I don’t even know why, what annoyed whoever opened fire,” said Younes. “But that’s the reality. When there’s criticism or anger directed at the local authority, it very quickly comes to violence and weapons.”
Despite making up just 20% of the Jewish State’s population, Arabs account for almost 70% of Israel’s homicide victims.
In a 2019 poll, 60.5% of Arab Israelis said they felt unsafe in their hometowns because of violence.
Last year saw 96 Arab Israelis murdered, the highest number on record.