Muslim police chief: Arab MKs have chosen path of violence

Muslim Deputy Police Commissioner criticizes Arab Knesset representatives for deepening divisions between Arabs and Jews.

Gary Willig,

Jamal Hachrush
Jamal Hachrush
Police spokesperson

Jamal Hachrush, Israel's first Muslim Deputy Police Commissioner, ripped Israeli Arab lawmakers Thursday, accusing them of choosing "violence" over constructive dialogue.

"From a place of pain and frustration, the Arab society gave its trust to elected officials who chose their way of fighting and violence, and finally not only did they not advance the minority, but they deepened and exacerbated the crisis of confidence," Hachrush said at the International Homeland Security Forum conference in Jerusalem Thursday.

"The Israeli government, led by Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, initiated a revolutionary program to change the situation and established the Israel Police Administration to improve police services in the Arab sector in Israel, in which 1,350 police officers were recruited to fill the new stations, of which 300 Muslim Arabs, including the addition of 32 Muslim women to the ranks of the police. Some of them are even religious and dress in traditional garb, a precedent unparalleled anywhere in the world and in the history of the Israel Police," Hachrush added.

"Arab society is changing. It is losing its social character, and the rule of the clan has lost its power in the world of young people," he explained. "It has led to chaos in our society, where the crisis began between Israeli society and Arab society in general, and between the Israel Police and the Arab society in particular."

He added: "You have to understand the implications - there has not been a new police station established in the Arab communities since 1967. For years the Arab communities were outside the organizational attention [of the State]. and Arab society had no legitimacy to serve in the police. I will tell you a difficult statement - would any of you feel safe and would you feel equal in a situation where there is no police in the vicinity of your home and a police car could take a half-hour to an hour to respond after a call?"

He said that the government began to act to change this situation two and a half years ago, when it initiated a campaign to recruit thousands of new Arab police officers.

"Since this step was taken in a time of serious crisis of trust, and the suspicion was on both sides," he said. However, he said that the program's success "surprised us very much."

So far, twelve new police stations have been established in Arab communities.

"The change was immediate. There was less violence and more fruitful dialogue between the police and the residents, and the change began when the civilian realized that the police were with him and not against him.

"Our fundraising plan meant that at least one policeman would be recruited from every Arab town. Someone that will be a "symbol" of the rule of law in the community. Someone who is in uniform and everyone sees him. We believe that he will be an ambassador of the Israel Police on the Arab street and a representative of Arab society within the Israel Police."

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