‘Capture, imprison, kill’: Netanyahu’s police pep talk makes war on Arab gangs a priority

The prime minister briefing police commanders, tells them to “capture, imprison, maybe kill some of them.”

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu turned up the heat in the war on organized crime in Israel’s Arab sector, telling senior police officials they had to “capture, imprison, maybe kill some of them,” Haaretz reported Wednesday.

In a briefing with the police to discuss how to tackle the problem of the surge of criminal violence plaguing the Arab community, Netanyahu talked about battles and the need to break the enemy’s desire to fight.

“You will capture, imprison, maybe kill some of them, and the others just disperse when they realize the battle has been decided,” Netanyahu told a gathering of senior police commanders held in the town of Tuba-Zangariyye.

“There is a point in a battle where you break the will of the enemy to fight, when you break their spirit,” Netanyahu said in a video of the event that was posted online by Haaretz reporter Almog Ben-Zikri.

“I want you to keep telling the criminal organizations – Who do you think you are? We will bring all the power of the state of Israel and all the technology. We will battle you with a war of attrition,” Netanyahu said.

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Netanyahu has repeatedly said over the past three months that the war on Arab crime gangs is a high priority, and after meeting with Arab community leaders in January he appointed a national task force to tackle the problem.

Two weeks ago the cabinet approved 150 million shekels ($45 million) to combat crime in the country’s Arab sector, which will go towards building and expanding five new and existing police stations and multi-purpose buildings for community services in Arab communities as well as establishing a special Israel Police unit dedicated to Arab-sector crime.

The gangs have grown bolder in their actions and have let the police know they will not be easily intimidated. In January, suspected Arab gang members torched three Israel Police cars

Israeli Arabs represent about 20% of the general population, but between 2015 and 2019, 80% of those suspected of committing firearm-related crimes in Israel were non-Jews.

The homicide rate in the Arab community in Israel increased by 60% from 2016 to 2019, and in 2018, the murder rate among Arabs in Israel was more than eight times the rate among Jewish Israelis, a study published by the Baladna Association for Arab Youth showed.