‘Arabs against Jews’: Mayor warns Israel ‘on brink of civil war’

“Whoever hasn’t understood it yet, we are on the brink of civil war in the State of Israel and not Haredim [ultra-Orthodox] against secular Jews, but rather Arabs against Jews,” said the Akko mayor.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Several speakers at an emergency conference Sunday said there was a danger of civil war in Israel if the government does not restore its hold on various Arab Israeli sectors. They proposed a NIS 110 billion plan as a solution.

“Whoever hasn’t understood it yet, we are on the brink of civil war in the State of Israel and not Haredim [ultra-Orthodox] against secular Jews, but rather Arabs against Jews,” said Akko (Acre) Mayor Shimon Lankri at the gathering of the Forum for Security, Governance and Settlement. “This is the next civil war. This will happen to us soon.”

Lankri referred both to the Arab Israeli riots in mixed Arab-Jewish cities during last year’s Operation Guardian of the Walls and to the lawlessness that has overtaken the Negev and Galilee, which have Arab-majority populations. He charged that the latter regions had been “abandoned” by the government for a long time, and “we need to do things that we haven’t done until today.”

Some 150 regional and municipal heads and security personnel, including top-ranking past members of the army, police, and Israel’s Security Agency, attended the conference.

IDF Gen. (ret.) Israel Ziv, a former head of the IDF’s Operations Directorate, echoed Lankri’s warning, saying that “a decisive part of about 20% of Israel’s population … are citizens with their ID, but not in their identity and commitment.”

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If real action is not taken soon, regarding both governance and the demographic imbalance, it could result in “national fragmentation, anarchy, which could even degenerate into a civil war,” he said.

Jews were not the only ones sounding the alarm at the conference.

“Start thinking differently, otherwise we and you will not be here,” said Behij Mansour, head of the Usefiyeh Regional Council in the Galilee.

“I want to have a planning horizon. I don’t want illegal construction…. There is no governance in the Druze population. Crime families have begun to take over the Druze villages. Of the 90 Usefiyeh shooting incidents, not a single one was deciphered. People go outside and are afraid they will get shot. The Israel Police has no manpower and cannot do anything,” he said.

Attendees suggested a plan to reestablish governance and fight back against crime throughout Israel that would cost NIS 110 billion over the next 10 years. They pleaded for the incoming government to adopt their program of action immediately.

‘More significant than the Palestinian or Iranian threat’

In a follow-up interview Monday on Radio North, one of the conference organizers, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Eitan Dangot, reiterated the urgency of the issue. The last government had already “listed governance and law and order as a top national priority,” he said, but “with all the good will of those involved, we haven’t seen a state plan” to deal with it.

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“In my opinion, the issue of governance vis-a-vis the [Arab] sectors is a much more significant threat than the Palestinian or Iranian threat,” said the former Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories. “We are preparing for other threats in a very serious, very organized, very skilled way. But in context of [what’s happening] inside Israel, it can disrupt our lives.”

The conference, he said, was the “opening shot” of “serious people” who have been involved with the security of the state and the welfare of its citizens for a long time.

At this “very sensitive junction, when all the participants believe that immediate steps should have already been taken,” he said, they were calling on the new government to “join hands and build a serious, in-depth plan for the security of the country.”

The Forum is an apolitical organization, Dangot stressed. “The Jewish people are one nation, the State of Israel is one country. It doesn’t belong to either the Left or the Right…

“This is the issue of the day: our children, our grandchildren, and the continued existence of this state as a strong one that will continue to exist for the next 75 years.”