Arab sector to strike over spike in murders

“Red lines have been crossed,” says mayor of Arab town that say slayings of imam, teenager over the weekend.

By World Israel News Staff

Umbrella organizations representing Arab municipalities in Israel announced a general strike will be held this week, as an act of protest against soaring murder rates in the sector.

The National Committee of Heads of Arab Local Authorities and the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee announced that Arab municipalities, schools, and businesses will be shuttered for several hours on Tuesday morning.

In a statement, the groups placed the blame for the spiraling violence in Arab communities on the Israeli government, claiming that police are not doing enough to solve crimes in the sector.

Police have countered that Arab-Israelis generally avoid cooperating with the authorities, refusing to provide eyewitness accounts or testify in court, which severely limits their ability to make arrests and prosecute criminals.

The strike was declared after three murders took place in a single weekend in the town of Kfar Qara. The victims, including a prominent local imam and 14-year-old boy, marked the 166th Arabs murdered so far in 2023.

“When a 14-year-old and a Sheikh [imam] are murdered, all the red lines have been crossed,” Kfar Qara’s mayor, Feras Badhi, told Ma’ariv.

Badhi said that he felt the Israeli government was not investing sufficient resources in battling the surge in slayings within the Arab community.

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The lawmaker did not acknowledge that National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s proposals to create a civil guard specifically aimed at safeguarding Arab communities, and allowing the Shin Bet security agency to investigate murders in the sector, were flatly rejected by Arab politicians and activists.

“We feel like we’re not under the control of the State of Israel…there is no law and order, there is no justice, there is anarchy, and we are at war,” he said.

“We need to intensify the struggle to save our lives…we will consider turning to international bodies like the UN for help,” he added.

“What is happening in our streets is civil terrorism, in the fullest sense of the words.”