Senior researcher Aryeh Ratner said Monday that Israel must face the high rate of violent crime among Arab citizens. The subject is “uncomfortable,” but must be addressed, he said.
Professor Ratner, who specializes in the study of crime, said research conducted at Haifa University had shown that Arab Israeli men were overrepresented among violent criminals between the years 1990 and 2006. During that time, Arab men were three times as likely to commit violent crimes, he said.
While Arab Israeli adults made up roughly 15 percent of Israel's total population, 42.7 percent of adult violent criminals were Arab, Ratner said. "Nobody wants to talk about this figure, it's uncomfortable, but this should be a red light,” he warned.
Among teen criminals the overrepresentation was less dramatic, with approximately 33.1 percent of violent teen crimes committed by Arab teens, who between the years 1990 and 2006 made up an average of 22.8 percent of the teenage population.
Ratner was careful not to jump to conclusions regarding the reason for the high rate of violent Arab crime. “We need to figure out where it's coming from. It could be cultural, it could be a result of discrimination, or of distress,” he said.
Arab Youth Admits to Role in Brutal Murder
Ratner's findings were made public on Monday, the same day that an Arab Israeli man, one of 10 suspects arrested for the murder of Leonard “Arik” Karp, admitted to his role in the killing. By Monday evening, police had extracted confessions from other suspects as well.
The suspect reenacted the savage killing along the stretch of Tel Aviv beach where the murder took place on Friday night. He showed investigators how he and his friends had kicked Karp, and had continued to beat him even after he lost consciousness.
Karp, 59, was walking with his wife and an adult daughter along the promenade when the family was attacked by a gang of young men from the town of Jaljulya, accompanied by two young women from Petach Tikva and Kfar Saba. The men began to beat Karp, and attacked his wife and daughter as well. The two women managed to escape, but Karp did not. His body was found washed ashore the next day.
Autopsy findings indicate that Karp was killed by the beating he received, and was already dead when his body was dumped into the water.