Arab former MK: Police to blame for crime in Arab sector

Former Balad Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka says police's "racist approach" is to blame for increased crime in Arab sector.

Dalit Halevi ,

Jamal Zahalka
Jamal Zahalka
Flash 90

Former Balad Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka is claiming that the Israel Police bears responsibility for the increasing crime rates in the Arab sector.

In an interview with the Hamas-affiliated newspaper Felesteen, Zahalka said that the Israel Police is not doing enough to capture the criminals and bring them to justice.

Any crime that goes unpunished is actually a green light for another crime, and that is the situation in the Arab sector today, he continued. "The killers are fleeing and the police are not fulfilling their duty to catch them, which is why the crime is intensifying," Zahalka said.

Zahalka added that the neglect of the police in capturing murderers makes them a partner in the crime. He argued that the Israel Police can prevent crime and arrest its perpetrators, but it does not put any real effort into this issue, and this is partly due to its “racist approach.”

In the interview, Zahalka revealed a plan to hold a hunger strike next week outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem in an attempt to pressure authorities to address the crime problem in the Arab sector.

Arab MKs regularly blame Israeli authorities for the waves of murders in the Arab sector and claim the cause is “government racism”.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) said earlier this month that the police are not the only ones responsible for the waves of murders in the Arab sector, most of which are connected to the culture of control in Arab society.

"Arab society, and I say this with great pain, is a very very violent society," Erdan said. "Instead of legal suits, they pull out a knife or weapon."

"A mother can allow her son to murder his sister, because she's going out with a man who the family doesn't like. I will not allow this discussion to be sidetracked," he added.

During his time as an MK, Zahalka often stirred controversy. He has stressed that he does not regret any of his statements, including saying that he "prefers to die than to sing the Israeli anthem," and that the Israeli flag is "worse than a rag."

Earlier this year, shortly after he announced he would not seek reelection, Zahalka declared that Balad is not part of the Israeli left but rather “an integral part of the Palestinian national movement”.

Balad is one of the four parties that make up the predominantly Arab Joint List party.