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Arabs in Israel reject Shabak involvement in fighting crime

December 26, 2022 at 5:20 pm

People gather to protest against the far-right upcoming coalition government led by prime minister-designate and Likud Party’s Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 17, 2022 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Arab citizens and officials in Israel have rejected the involvement of the Israeli internal intelligence, Shabak, in attempts to fight crime among the Arab community.

The Israeli Wallah news website, reported that the coalition agreement between Likud’s head Benjamin Netanyahu and head of the Jewish Power party, Itamar Ben Gvir, stipulates the formation of a special Shabak unit to help the Israeli police fight crime among Arabs in Israel.

This unit, according to the agreement, will lead the coordination between the prime minister’s office and the Ministry of National Security led by Ben Gvir.

Shabak’s primary function is to fight and undermine any illegal activity aimed at harming the security of the state and its ruling institutions.

Head of the High Follow-up Committee for Arabs in Israel, Mohammad Baraka, said: “Arab citizens are not a criminal or security target. They are a civil group that deserves being served like any other group of citizens.”

Baraka accused the Israeli security services of conspiring against the Arabs. “Shabak is involved in the crimes inside the Arab community according to accounts by police officers,” he said. “It must lift its hand off the Arab community and stop using criminal organisations to demolish it,” he added.

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Since the start of 2022, at least 106 Arabs have been killed as crime among Arabs has been escalating due to the lack of effective policing against criminal gangs.

Baraka said that the police “have to carry out their work properly like any police in the world and arrest criminals,” noting that it is able to do so as it is already doing in non-Arab Israeli cities.

For the Israeli army, he said, “it must guard its military bases very well in order to stop the flood arms into the hands of criminals.”

Other Arab officials also commented on the Shabak involvement in the fight against crimes in the Arab community such as Jaafar Farah, director of a rights group, who accused the Israeli ministry of education of not doing enough to prevent the enticement of students away from schools by criminal networks.