Rubik Danilovich
Rubik Danilovich Hadas Parush/Flash90

Just over a week after the deadly terrorist attack that struck his city, Beer Sheva mayor Rubik Danilovich has expressed grave concern regarding the government's policies and the behavior of police in light of the recent spike in terrorist activity.

"We've known better days," he told Radio 103FM. "The attacks that have occurred in the last few weeks have been very severe - I could even use the word 'slaughter' to describe what's happened here. The public is demanding answers and we, as their elected representatives, are trying to calm things as well as to find solutions."

Danilovich was swift to caution that "I'm not here to grade anyone's performance. I don't belong to any of the political parties; I respect everyone and everyone respects me. I don't believe that anyone in government is deliberately making things worse, but we, as a nation, have to wake up. I say 'nation' and not 'government' and I don't name names, because I think we have a national problem here; I think we have become wedded to outdated, anachronistic concepts, and that if we don't wake up and shake ourselves out of this, we could very soon find ourselves in a very bad place.

"I'm worried about the country in general, not just about the security situation," he clarified. "I think that we somehow don't realize that we have to start making tough decisions.

"We have an excellent police force," he added, "with wonderful police officers who literally work around the clock. But recent events have demonstrated that we simply don't have enough police to cope with what's happening. If we carry on like this, using the same tools, the same means, we're soon going to lose our ability to cope with a situation that is becoming more and more serious."

Danilovich noted that, "The Negev is over 60 percent of Israel's land area with less than 9 percent of its population. If we don't alter the trend, we're going to end up with two states. By 2050, G-d willing, Israel's population will have grown to over 16 millon, but around 75 percent of Israeli citizens will still be living in the greater Tel Aviv area, in Gush Dan, in Jerusalem and its suburbs, if things continue the way they're going now. And for the first time, the Negev will not have a Jewish majority. Why did our founding generation oppose any form of partition plan? Why did we want the Negev so much?"

Turning to the specific problem of the Bedouin Arabs in the Negev, Danilovich did not mince his words. "The majority of Bedouin Arabs want to belong to the state but there is a sizeable segment - primarily those whose mothers are from Gaza or from Hevron - who are different. Let's call a spade a spade and admit that these Bedouins simply do not recognize the state. They don't even speak Hebrew."

With regard to enforcement of the law, he was similarly candid. "We don't have enough police officers. We need deterrence, and now the Shabak is going to have to start dealing with [Arab] Israeli citizens - there's no choice. But the police force needs to be reinvented, so to speak. When I was a boy, kids wanted to dress up as police officers - they were people to be admired, to be emulated. We need to get back to that."

All the same, Danilovich stressed, "The police are not the problem - they're the solution. But we're overloading them with obligations, at a time when we really need another six to seven thousand officers. Perhaps what we should be thinking about is establishing a kind-of overall security organization that incorporates all the various branches of law enforcement. Meanwhile, more and more citizens are walking around armed, certainly in Beer Sheva since what happened here last week. We already have over 300 volunteers in neighborhood patrols, good people who took it upon themselves to guard our streets. But I'm not calling on everyone to go around armed," he concluded.