Police not doing enough about Arab-Jewish violence, critics say

There is no sense of security,” said one Lod resident. “The feeling is mainly one of fear. It’s the failure of all those who are supposed to protect us.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Critics of the police and courts are saying that both ends of the criminal investigation process have fallen short regarding the serious violence that occurred during Operation Guardian of the Walls in May, Maariv reported Thursday.

The police haven’t carried out enough arrests, and the number of indictments is also too low, they charged.

Aaron Axol, a retired police chief, told the paper that at least for the first two days of the riots, the police were not prepared for the events that took place across the country. But, he added, “It should not be forgotten, of course, that alongside the police, the prosecutor’s office and the courts also play an important role in everything related to deterrence, enforcement and punishment.”

During the latest Gaza-Israel flare up, which began when Hamas began launching some 4,000 rockets and missiles indiscriminately into Israel, Israeli Arabs rioted all over the country in support of the terror organization. The problem was acute in the mixed Arab-Jewish cities such as Lod, Acre and Jerusalem, with mobs setting fire to Jewish property, as well as knifing and beating random people on the streets.

There were several attempted lynches during this period, including some in which rocks were hurled at Jewish drivers in their cars. One of the latter led to the death of Yigal Yehoshua of Lod. Seven Arabs were indicted for the murder in June, five of them local residents and two from Judea and Samaria. They were also charged on counts of terrorism and racism.

In one of the attempted lynches led by Jews, which was actually filmed as it occurred, an Arab Israeli man was severely beaten in Bat Yam. Three more arrests were made in this case last week, with 10 others already indicted on charges ranging from incitement to violence to terrorism and attempted murder.

There have been other successes. On Monday, the GSS revealed that three attempted lynches of drivers in the Negev on the second night of the May clashes have been solved. Among others, five members of a single family from Lakia were arrested for stoning the vehicles, setting them on fire and injuring the drivers.

Other cases, which have involved whole mobs, seem to have resulted in overly few arrests and indictments. In a case in Acre, a Jewish driver was hit by rocks and when he tried to flee his car he was set upon by a crowd and almost beaten to death before being saved by an Arab sheikh. Only three men have so far been charged by the courts in the incident.

In a similar case in the Galilee town of Tamra, where an Arab doctor heroically led a first-aid team into a mob that was about to kill a passing Jewish driver, two men are facing various charges, including acts of terrorism, intentional sabotage of a vehicle motivated by racism, and assaulting a police officer.

Criticizing the disparity between the efforts made by law enforcement against Jewish and Arab offenders, Jafar Farah, the director of the Mossawa Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens in Israel, told The New York Times last month that 35 Jews and 450 Arabs have been indicted for various violent acts during the 11-day IDF operation.

For the Jews who arguably suffered the most from the violence, hundreds of arrests is not enough.

There is no sense of security,” said one Lod resident to Maariv. “The feeling is mainly one of fear. It’s the failure of all those who are supposed to protect us.”