Violent extortion (illustative)
Violent extortion (illustative)ISTOCK

The wave of crime in Arab society: 47% of the suspects in cases opened by the Israel Police between 2018 and 2020 on suspicion of committing offenses of extortion, through violence or threat, or taking property for extortion, belong to the Arab sector - according to official data from the Israel Police published here for the first time.

This is despite the fact that Arab residents of Israel constitute only 20% of the population of Israeli citizens.

The data further illustrate that the crime phenomenon in the Arab sector is only spreading, and that during 2020 there was a significant jump in extortion offenses or as they are commonly referred to, 'protection': thus, while in 2018 and 2019 the number of extortion offenses for which police cases were opened remained stable, that number has since grown by 21% - and the proportion of Arab citizens suspected or against whom a complaint has been filed for extortion offenses has already risen to 47% of all cases opened during this year for extortion offenses.

According to Adv. Avichai Bar-On, chairman of the Lavi organization, who collected the data, "This is unequivocal data, which shows the abandonment of contractors, farmers, and business owners in Israel by all law enforcement agencies in the State of Israel. It is hard to believe that anyone is surprised by this data. Perhaps what it shows more than anything else is the helplessness of the State of Israel when it comes to ensuring the security of its citizens. . Unfortunately, this data also confirms that the State of Israel has woken up to this reality in delay- it has been building up for many years, and now it may be too late."

In addition, the data show that 23% of protection offenses are committed in the northern region - more than any other district, followed immediately by the 'Southern District' with 20% of all extortion cases opened by the Israel Police in 2018-2020.

In total, between 2018 and 2020, 4735 cases were opened in the Israel Police for a complaint or suspicion of committing extortion offenses. 66% of these offenses have already been shelved due to lack of evidence, the police officer in charge of the investigation determining that the circumstances of the case are not suitable for prosecution and other reasons. The incompetence of the law enforcement authorities is revealed in all its severity since in no less than 78% of the extortion cases that were shelved, the police were unable to locate the identity of the offender.

However, the failures of the law enforcement authorities in dealing with the protection phenomenon in general and in the Arab sector in particular are not the sole responsibility of the police. The data reveal that of all the cases opened on suspicion of extortion, which occurred between 2018 and 2020, only 5% reached a judicial decision (conviction or acquittal), 6% are still under investigation and 17% are still awaiting a decision by the State Attorney's Office or the Prosecution Department on whether to file an indictment.