Naomi Kahn, Director of Regavim’s International Division, spoke to Arutz Sheva after her participation in an emergency Knesset committee, stating that Regavim had been warning for years about the “recent events that have exploded across the scene through Israel.”
“Regavim has been saying for 15 years that the failure to enforce the law has created pockets of lawlessness. It begins with illegal construction, it begins with failure to enforce the law against crime families, drug smuggling, holding arms illegally. All through the Arab communities. For political reasons the government of Israel has failed to enforce the law equally and universally and that has come to roost,” Kahn said.
Regavim has been calling on the government for 15 years to universally enforce the law, but nothing has happened. And now you have the result.
When asked if she was surprised to discover just how serious the problem of illegal weapons was, even in central Israel, Kahn remarked that the large number was not a surprise.
“We’re not surprised in the least, unfortunately. We’ve been warning about this. We’ve been calling upon the government to collect illegally held arms all through the country, from the north, from the Galilee, all the way down to the south, to the Negev, in Lod, in Ramla, in all of the mixed cities. We knew it was coming. Everyone knew it was coming.”
Kahn noted that it was more convenient for the government to look the other way and push the problem into the future, “onto someone else’s plate.”
“But it’s no longer an avoidable conversation,” she said.
So, just who is responsible for the current predicament? “It starts from the top.”
A solution involving policy and government is badly needed. Once policy is in place, it needs to be enforced.
Kahn explained that Regavim tried to work in the mixed cities to fill in the gap but “there was a huge gap of law enforcement. This is also the result of the (2000 Orr Report) following the previous round of Arab riots in the year 2000 in the Wadi Ara area.”
Police powers were curtailed severely, Khan said. “The police force was emasculated by the Orr Report.”
She added, “We have the return of these riots now in a much greater intensity. The government itself has to take a careful look at the powers it is giving to the people who are supposed to be protecting us and the policy of the government in terms of equal and universal law enforcement in every part of the country, in every sector, and on every front, from the ground up.”