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Netanyahu in Lod, Vows City will Not Become 'Wild West'

Prime Minister holds special news conference in city suffering from Arab violence, after two murders this week.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 10/7/2010, 5:11 PM / Last Update: 10/7/2010, 5:40 PM

Israel News photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a special news conference in the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod in central Israel Thursday, in an attempt to boost the morale of the residents and security forces. The city is terrorized by Arab crime gangs and two people were murdered there in the course of inter-gang warfare this week.

"The primary duty of a state to its citizens is security," Netanyahu said. The state's security and their personal security. I will not allow Lod to become the Wild West... We are committed to this – the Minister of Public Security is committed to this and the police are committed to this.”

A company of Border Guards and crews of Yassam special police and Shin Bet agents have been stationed in the city to try and put an end to the violence. Netanyahu said that the cabinet is scheduled to devote a session to the Lod problem ten days from now, and vowed that he meant business.

"We are obligated to act using all means,” Netanyahu said. “We are embarking on a fresh path. We have one State of Israel and everyone deserves personal security, [to be able] to send the children to school without fear, and to walk the streets and roads without fear.”

Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Thursday that tens of thousands of Jews should be settled in Lod, until the city has a solid Jewish majority. The same should be done in other mixed-population cities like Akko, Nazareth and Yafo, he told Reshet Bet government radio.

Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich accompanied Netanyahu in Lod and also spoke at the news conference held there. He said that the police are doing “excellent work” in Lod, and will continue to do so with the added manpower. He said that the police forces are intended to provide residents with a better “feeling of security.”

The use of the term “feeling of security” as opposed to actual “security” has become commonplace among Israel's security establishment in the last decade.

Aharonovich claimed that most of the recent murders are “honor killings” but this claim is disputed by Lod's mayor, Ilan Harari, who says the police have neglected the city and allowed criminals to run wild.