Arab crime shoots up: mother and daughter murdered loading groceries

Mother and daughter shot dead in Lod; mayor says the country would “come to a stop” if the wave of deadly crime involved Jews.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Lod mayor Yair Revivo called on the government Monday night to wake up as Arab-on-Arab violence is literally shooting up, especially in his city.

Earlier in the evening, Manar Hajaj, 34, and her twin 14-year-old daughters were shot from close range as they took groceries from their car in the parking area under their building.

All of them were rushed to the hospital, where doctors confirmed the deaths of Hajaj and one daughter, Hadra. The second twin, Maryam, is in moderate condition, having been shot while running to escape, a witness told Ynet.

“This is a difficult evening, which is the continuation of a crazy wave of violence raging in this country, especially in the Arab community, and I am sorry to say this, but the country is not waking up,” Revivo told Ynet at the scene.

Less than two weeks ago, a 52-year-old resident of the city was killed in a drive-by shooting while sitting in his car in a central square. His brother also met his death in a similar fashion two years ago, as did another relative, an 18-year-old honors graduate, last year. Six weeks ago, a Lod teacher was shot and killed on the street in front of her three young daughters.

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“We live in the Wild West,” said city council member Fida Shehada, “when in the middle of…Lod – near the police station and city hall – women are murdered.”

“If this many murders were happening in Jewish society, the country would come to a stop,” Revivo charged. “There’s a feeling of, ‘It’s an Arab killing an Arab, no big deal.’ It is a big deal. It hurts the personal security of all the residents of the country, Jews and Arabs alike.”

“I simply feel sorry for the Arab population who have been living under continuous criminal terrorism in recent years,” he added. “Every year, over 100 Arab citizens are murdered by Arabs.”

Hajaj and her daughter became the 74th and 75th victims of the deadly criminal wave in the Arab sector so far in 2022, according to the NGO Abraham Initiatives. The vast majority were killed by gunfire.

Politicians and citizens alike have said for years that the Arab sector is awash with illegal weapons and begged for police action. Last month, the police published statistics from its 10-month-long operation to root out crime in the sector, patting itself on the back for “recording great successes.” These included over 2,000 arrests, with 349 of the detainees defined as “main perpetrators of crime,” and the confiscation of 595 weapons.

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Also on Monday night, gunmen attacked an ambulance in Taibe evacuating a man who had been shot. The assailants then kidnapped the victim. This followed the Sunday night murder in Umm el-Fahm of Nidal Aghbariya, a journalist who headed Arab news site Bldtna and was known for investigating crime in the Arab sector.

The police came under special fire from Arab politicians for that incident, since the threat to Agbaria’s life was well known.

“The police had known for a year that the criminal organizations had marked Nidal Agbaria’s house. A year ago, his house was shot up when he and his family were at home, but the police did not act to arrest the criminals,” the Hadash party said in a statement, charging the police with “incompetence.”

While sending condolences to the Hajaj family, Prime Minister Yair Lapid tweeted a firm anti-crime message Tuesday morning.

“The terrible murder in Lod… together with the series of violent events of the last few days requires us to increase enforcement and the presence of police forces in the cities and toughen the punishment for any act of violence,” he wrote.

Chief Superintendent Yaakov Shabtai has ordered a special task force of some 300 officers to the mixed Arab-Jewish city to increase “operational activities” against criminal elements.

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Last December, Revivo called for Israel’s internal security agency, which deals with security threats, to come to his city and use similar measures against the civilian violence.