Bemused by feminicides and mafia crimes, Israeli Arabs want more security

More than 60% of the country's murders occur in this community, which represents only 20% of the population.

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Election campaign posters in Qalansawe, featuring Ayman Odeh (right), the leader of the United Arab Party's united list in Israel, on April 3rd. Ammar Awad / REUTERS

A wedding in Basmat Tabun, a Bedouin village near Haifa, in northern Israel, was bereaved on the night of 21 September. A 45-year-old man, Ibrahim Kamal Saadi, and a 20-year-old mother, Bian Dalayka, were killed in a quarrel that escalated into gunfire. This news story resonated across the country.

According to testimonies, the dispute began because of the presence of alcohol served at the wedding, which was held near a mosque. A witness said daily Haaretz that Bian Dalayka had been touched while trying to flee with her granddaughter.

The same day, two men were shot dead in Arab towns around Haifa: a car salesman, shot dead at the entrance of his village by a group that was obviously waiting for him; and a 35-year-old man whose body had been found in a car a few hours earlier.

"Honor" crimes

These crimes are not exceptional. Since the beginning of the year, 67 people have been murdered in Israel's Arab cities and neighborhoods, often in broad daylight and in public. This figure represents 60% of the national total (102 deaths), while the Arab-Israeli minority, descended from the Palestinians who remained on their lands at the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, forms only 20% of the Israeli population.

These are partly feminicides: family crimes known as "honor". But the main thing is the fact of mafias, who operate in relative impunity. These have benefited for the past decade from the lack of police surveillance and the massive circulation of weapons in Arab neighborhoods. The police have one for four homes; weapons punctured by small hands in the stocks of the army. Mafia families make their bed on a relative enrichment of the middle class. They infiltrate the municipalities, taking advantage of the continued weakening of the Arab parties.

The united list of these parties, which has jumped to third place in the general elections on 17 September, with thirteen seats in the Knesset, now places the fight against crime at the top of its demands with the state.

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On September 21, the day of the killing of Basmat Tabun, his leader, former lawyer Ayman Odeh, recalled him as he made a historic step, asking the Israeli president Réouven Rivlin to entrust to the leader of a party Zionist, Benny Gantz, the care of forming a government. The Arab formations had dared to do so only in 1992, to recommend Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, one year before the latter signed the Oslo peace accords.


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