The Gun Violence Epidemic Plaguing Arab-Israeli Society

The problem of gun violence in Israel's Arab communities has become a national emergency. Even before the recent general election, a poll conducted among Arab Israelis found that their most important issue, far above every other, was the gun violence plaguing Arab society. “This is our number one emergency issue,” said Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List of Arab parties in the Knesset. This murder wave, Arab leaders say, would neither exist nor persist if the victims were Jewish. According to Odeh, in instances of shootings in Arab municipalities, the police opened cases just 5 percent of the time. As a result, Arab citizens have developed such a cynical view of the Israeli authorities that they've come to believe the state is perfectly comfortable with the current situation—which another Arab Knesset member has called “a civil war.”

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