5 Arab Israelis dead in latest shooting

The latest casualties in a crime wave that is affecting Israel’s Arab minority were five Arab Israelis who were shot and killed on Wednesday in northern Israel, according to police.

Arab and Jewish Israelis light up candles during a vigil against violence in the Arab community in the town of Basmat Tabun in northern Israel on September 27, 2023 Photo: AFP
Five Arab Israelis dead in latest shooting

Northwest of Nazareth, in the Bedouin settlement of Basmat Tabun, five men and two women were shot and killed, according to a statement from the police.

The police only provided vague information regarding the shooting, stating that a search was being conducted for the shooters.

Hours earlier, a man was shot and killed in the nearby city of Haifa, according to authorities. The local media recognized him as an Arab Israeli.

According to the Abraham Initiatives, a group that encourages tolerance between Jews and Arabs, the number of Arab-Israelis slain so far this year has increased to 188 with the deaths on Wednesday.

“The prime minister needs to fire the minister of public safety and put in place a strategy right away to deal with crime in Arab society. It’s an emergency, the group declared in a statement.

Around 20% of Israel’s 9.7 million people are Arab, descended from Palestinians who remained on their land after Israel’s formation in 1948.

According to experts, Arab gangs have accumulated a significant number of illicit weapons over the past 20 years and are engaged in drug trafficking and other crimes.

Many in the neighborhood claim that the Jewish majority discriminates against them and have accused Israeli authorities of failing to adequately probe the violence.

Israel, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is waging a “genuine war against the severe crime in the Arab sector.”

“Violence that does not distinguish between men and women, the young and the old, ordinary citizens and elected officials, candidates, or council heads,” he remarked.

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