Police officers in Lod
Police officers in Lod Yossi Aloni/Flash90

Israel's defense establishment estimates that during the next round of warfare in Gaza or northern Israel, Arab Israelis will join the fighting, Israel Hayom reported.

According to the report, although the IDF and police took steps during the past year to prepare for such a possibility, senior sources have warned that those steps are far from being enough.

The wake-up call for such a possibility came last year, during May 2021's Operation Guardian of the Walls when Arabs rioted in mixed Jewish-Arab cities, on roads in southern Israel, and at several locations in northern Israel.

Following this, several joint staffs were set up by the IDF and Israel Police, and these decided on a list of steps, which has been publicized: Quick call-up for Border Police reserve units, moving regular Border Police units from operations in Judea and Samaria to operations under the command of Israel Police in mixed cities, and replacing them with regular or reserve IDF forces, and creating a reserve Border Police brigade already this year.

It is estimated that in any type of future conflict, there will be much greater levels of violence. The strength of the opposition depends on several factors: Deterrence and governance shown by Israel, the assertiveness show by Israeli Arab leadership, and moderate forces within Arab society. Above all, it depends on the type of war which is fought.

If the war occurs in Lebanon, and thousands of rockets are fired into Israel each day, there may be those who wish to utilize the chaos in order to challenge the system even further. This would be expressed in attempts to disturb the movement of forces throughout Israel, blocking roads and the entrance to bases, violence in mixed cities, and harm to public and private property in Arab cities as well.

Senior sources have warned that Israel's solutions so far to these scenarios is far from sufficient. They believe that the police are weak and have not succeeded in creating enough deterrence in normal times, and will not succeed in doing so during an emergency.

"In the past 30 years, Israel's population has doubled, but the police have grown by just 20%," former Deputy Commissioner Zohar Dvir said. "The police equals the nation's fortitude, but it is placed very low on the national priority list. For many years it has been dried up, and now we see the result."