Bezalel Smotrich
Bezalel SmotrichChaim Goldberg/Flash 90

After more than five hours, a meeting between Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and the Director General of his Ministry, Interior Minister Moshe Arbel and the Director General of his ministry, the head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the Israel Police commissioner and representatives of the Arab local authorities concluded after midnight on Sunday night.

At the conclusion of the meeting, it was decided that, in accordance with the directive of the Prime Minister at the meeting of the Ministerial Committee for the Eradication of Crime in Arab Society, a package of laws will be promoted that will grant powers for criminal and economic enforcement against the organized crime organizations in the Arab society.

In addition, the Ministry of Finance will immediately budget tens of millions of shekels for technological measures required for the Israel Police to increase enforcement and personal security in Arab society.

The heads of the authorities agreed to the principle which states that all the budgets will be transferred through activation, supervision and control mechanisms that will ensure that the budgets are transferred to the benefit of the Arab citizens of Israel and not to criminal organizations.

These mechanisms will be formulated and approved by the government within about two weeks and, subject to this, the Ministry of Finance will immediately transfer the budget for 2023 to the Ministry of the Interior, while the Interior Minister will commit to transferring the budgets to the authorities only after the said mechanisms have been formulated.

The head of the Shin Bet, Ronen Bar, who was involved in the talks with the heads of the authorities, promised that the Shin Bet would work to prevent the involvement of criminal organizations in the municipal elections. National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir boycotted the meeting.