Law enforcement and viral videos - a dangerous combination

Regavim calls for systematic, decisive law enforcement in the Negev – with no regard for popularity ratings of viral video clips.

Mordechai Sones ,

Viral social media
Viral social media

The Regavim movement for protecting Israel's resources and sovereignty welcomes the announcement by Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan of "unprecedented steps" to enforce the law in the Bedouin sector.

"The footage of shooting and reckless behavior on the roads of the south that we posted on social media had a tremendous impact and generated broad interest and discussion - among the public, in the media, and in the political sphere. This is gratifying and encouraging, but, frankly, more than anything, it's worrying," said Meir Deutsch, Regavim's Director of Policy and Parliamentary Affairs.

"These video clips exposed the public to isolated episodes, simply because they were caught on film - but thousands of similar episodes receive no attention whatsoever and are largely ignored, just as the problem of wandering camels that we have been sounding the alarm about for years doesn't make headlines until people are injured or killed in collisions that should have been avoided.

"If enforcement agencies in Israel's southern region set their operational priorities according to viral video clip ratings, this is a dangerous system that will perpetuate the anarchy rather than rein it in. Just like any other part of the country, the vast expanse of the Negev requires constant, determined law enforcement – including weapons confiscation, traffic enforcement, and road-use regulations, identification and registration of animals that pose a danger to the public's safety, and, of course, broad-spectrum action against any and all types of violence," adds Deutsch. "We hope that Minister Erdan's promise of unprecedented law enforcement against criminal activity in the Bedouin sector will be implemented on the ground."

In light of the call by leaders of the Arab sector encouraging police to collect illegal guns and ammunition, Regavim points to the recent project initiated by the Israel Police: The national campaign encouraging members of the Arab sector to voluntarily turn in illegal weapons with a guarantee of a "no-questions-asked" amnesty was an abject failure. Only 14 handguns were collected nationwide. "These results speak for themselves. The leaders of the Arab sector have raised justified complaints that violence in the Arab sector does not receive equal attention by Israel's law enforcement apparatus. For the sake of real change, the leaders of the Arab sector must take decisive action within their own communities, beyond lip service and finger-pointing."