In light of incidents of Arabs throwing stones at buses across the country, particularly in the south, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli (Labor) and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev (Labor) spoke and assessed the steps available to ensure the safety of bus drivers and passengers.
In a joint statement, the two emphasized that "throwing stones at vehicles is an act of terrorism, pure and simple, particularly when it is against mass transport where a single attack could claim many lives."
"The ministers view these incidents with the utmost gravity and are committed to acting so that every stone thrower is brought to law and that such incidents do not occur in the future," the statement added.
Michaeli said, "Drivers of public transport vehicles must be protected and arrive safely to their destination. I was happy to be briefed thoroughly by the Public Security Minister on the steps the Southern District is taking to bring safety and a feeling of safety to the area, particularly the safety and security of road users."
"As someone committed to the concerns of drivers and passengers, I will continue to raise the status of the drivers and monitor police activity in the area to prevent recurrence of these incidents."
Barlev added: "Incidents of stone-throwing at buses are in addition to the difficult situation in the south and the relaxation of enforcement that followed the May 2021 disturbances. We will not allow this to continue."
"Over the last two months the Southern District has begun implementing advanced plans to deal with violence and crime across the Negev, increasing police and Border Police forces in the sector, and many other programs that are already showing initial results. They are leading to significant arrests and the quick apprehension of suspects."
He emphasized, however, that "so long as even one citizen feels unsafe to travel the roads, we have a lot of work ahead of us and the true test is how the sense of security of people in the south and [that of] road users improves. The south is no longer lawless!"