Illegal weapons seized in Tel Sheva
Illegal weapons seized in Tel ShevaPolice spokesperson

On Sunday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett convened the government’s inter-ministerial taskforce on the issue of violence and crime in the Arab sector.

At the meeting, Bennett authorized the implementation of the program presented by Deputy Internal Security Minister Yoav Segalovich. The program involves inter-ministerial cooperation on the issue of Arab violence, along with the involvement of other relevant bodies including Israel Police, the General Security Service, the National Security Agency, the Attorney-General, the State Prosecution Service, the Tax Authority, the Anti-Money-Laundering Authority, and others.

At Sunday’s meeting, the ministers present decided on a plan specifically addressing the issue of illegal weapons held in the Arab sector, with the cooperation of the IDF and the ISA (Shabak).

In addition, the Justice Ministry intends to advance a raft of legislation that will provide law enforcement with the necessary means to deal with the issue of illegal weapons possession, including a law that will apply a minimum sentencing requirement for those found guilty of illegal possession of weapons or illegally trading in weapons.

At the start of the discussion, Bennett stated that, “The situation of violence in the Arab sector has reached a red line. The problem has existed for years and has only been mounting over time, and has now reached explosive levels, as we saw over the last year.

“Our government will be dealing with this issue with the utmost seriousness,” Bennett continued. “Together with Internal Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev and other ministers, we have established an inter-ministerial taskforce headed by a former deputy police commissioner, Deputy Internal Security Minister Yoav Segalovich, in order to deal with violence and crime in the Arab sector. Yoav will serve as the government’s coordinator on this issue, and we, as a government, will be ensuring that Yoav has the tools and team members at his disposal that he needs in order to succeed at his task.”

Addressing the recent attack on police officers in Kafr Qassem, Bennett stressed that, “I hope that Arab society – its political representatives, community leaders, media representatives – will support police and security forces. In fact, all of Arab society needs to stand behind the State.”

Bennett noted that, “The government is mobilizing its forces to protect Arab citizens from crime in its sector, from possession of illegal weapons, from murder, and from protection rackets. This is going to take a great deal of time, effort, and resources. And at this time, as we mobilize our forces toward this goal, Arab society must realize that the security forces are not their enemies – they are the solution. Instead of blaming the State for their problems, they must cooperate with us and work together with us.

“Over the years, a situation has evolved of a ‘state within a state,’” he added, “and by now everyone can see the scope of the problem. Dealing with such an extensive issue will take us more than a day or two, but we are going to do it. We are going to take action and I wish us the best of success.”