Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu participated Monday in a session of a parliamentary committee of inquiry chaired by MK Ahmed Tibi of Raam Taal, devoted to the problem of rampant violence in the Arab sector.
Violence has become so widespread within the Arab sector that even MKs like Tibi, who make a career out of publicly humiliating the institutions of the state of Israel, have been forced to ask the state to help them deal with it.
Data released by the Ministry of Public Security shows that in 2011, Arabs – who make up less than 20% of Israel's citizens – were the perpetrators in 67% of the murder cases and in 70% of the attempted murders, as well as 52% of the arson cases and 36% of the robberies.
While crime in general was on the decline in Israel in 2011, it spiked by 8% in the Arab sector. Of 126 people murdered in 2009, 61 were Arabs. In 41% of 7,097 police investigations regarding aggravated assault, the suspect was an Arab. According to the police statistics, while there are relatively few complaints regarding domestic violence in the Arab sector, the actual incidence of the problem is much higher among Arabs than in the rest of the population.
Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed to a connection between unemployment statistics and violence. "The Arab sector is starting to live an unbearable life as regards crime, murder, murder of women, robberies and harassment," he said.
Netanyahu said that the Arab sector had become "a wild West." Solutions could be provided by increased education, entrepreneurship, employment of women and law enforcement, he said. However, he added – this works both ways, as violence prevents progress in education and employment.
Dealing with the problem requires resources, Netanyahu explained. "Resources come from determining priorities and increasing the budget. I have asked the Director of the Prime Minister's Office to look at all of the collection agencies in the Arab sector – what their ability is to increase collection – and only then will I talk to the Finance Minister."
Netanyahu said that national (or "civilian") service in the Arab sector, as an alternative to military and national service in other sectors, would go a long way toward promoting the sector's interests. The Arab MKs and other dignitaries reacted negatively to the idea.