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Ben-Gvir says Shin Bet should be fighting crime within Israel’s Arab communities

August 24, 2023 at 11:08 am

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir gives a speech in West Jerusalem January 24, 2023 [Saeed Qaq/Anadolu Agency]

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said on Wednesday that the Shin Bet domestic security agency should take part in the fight against crime within Israel’s Arab communities, local media have reported. Ben-Gvir also renewed his call for the use of administrative detention orders against Arabs Israeli citizens, stressing that this is the only way to help solve the crime crisis.

The far-right minister claimed that police officers under his supervision requested the right to arrest six gang leaders several months ago and hold them without filing charges. However, although so-called administrative detention would be the means to do that — no charges or trial are necessary —it is only used by the Israeli military courts against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, not those within Israel. According to the Times of Israel, Ben-Gvir’s request was denied by Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara.

Ben-Gvir has called Arab gangs “terrorist organisations” with “huge budgets and hundreds of thousands of weapons at their disposal, including millions of bullets, explosive charges and grenade launchers.” He did not mention how they obtained all of these within Israel, but he did warn that they will soon direct their weapons against the State of Israel, and called once again for the creation of a national guard to prevent crime.

Meanwhile, Walla news website has reported that Shin Bet has joined the investigation into the murder of four Arabs, including a municipal candidate, on Tuesday evening in the northern town of Abu Snan. The decision to involve Shin Bet agents, said Walla, was made following an assessment meeting after the killings. The murders in Abu Snan came just hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for Shin Bet to get involved in fighting crime in Arab towns.

READ: Ben-Gvir seeks to end defence minister’s ‘soft’ policy against Palestinians