Israel unprepared for internal Arab unrest, say security officials

Despite widespread Arab rioting during last year’s military clash with Gaza, Israeli authorities are dragging their feet when it comes to ensuring such unrest doesn’t occur again, say critics.

By World Israel News Staff

Despite widespread Arab rioting during last year’s Operation Guardian of the Walls clash, which saw three Jewish Israelis killed and Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues targeted by Arabs who hold Israeli citizenship, the authorities reportedly have not taken sufficient steps to ensure public safety should such an internal uprising occur again.

A report from Israel Hayom included scathing commentary by retired police and security officials,who said that Israel has not learned from the May 2021 chaos and is dragging its feet on taking the appropriate action to prevent a repeat of the violence.

Speaking anonymously, several high-ranking police and security officials told Israel Hayom that the authorities were caught off guard with the sheer scale of the nationalistically motivated violence that exploded in mixed Arab-Jewish municipalities as well as Arab cities in Israel’s northern, central and southern regions during the war.

In a future conflict, officials said, even more Arab citizens of Israel could potentially join in, emboldened by the lack of deterrence from police and criminal prosecution during the unrest in May 2021.

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Former police deputy commissioner and superintendent Zohar Dvir told Israel Hayom that Israel is not devoting sufficient resources to the police.

“In the last 30 years, the population of Israel has doubled, but the police have only grown by 20 percent,” he said. “Police are critical for national resilience, but they are placed very low on the country’s priority list. For many years they have [been neglected], and now we are seeing the result.”

Dvir said that the amount of standard police should be substantially increased and the number of Border Police officers and special police units like Yasam should be tripled.

He added that he believes high unemployment rates in the Arab community make its members more susceptible to criminal activity and terror, saying Israel must work to combat poverty in the sector to make violence a less appealing option.

“Today there is 40 percent unemployment among young [Arabs],” he said. “They see the arms dealers and criminals with BMWs and money, and they want that, too.”

Investment in “employment, in education, in places of entertainment and leisure” can help Israel combat the Arab crime phenomenon, Dvir said. “Otherwise, it will explode inside us.”