Jamal Hakrush, a police officer who hails from the Galilee village of Kafr Kanna, will take up the role at the helm of a new police unit aimed at combating the disproportionate amount of crime within Israel’s Arab community, police confirmed.
Commissioner Roni Alsheich announced the new initiative on Tuesday during an “appreciation day” for police in the Knesset. He explained its necessity due to the high rates of domestic violence, murder, illegal weapons possession within the Israeli Arab sector.
At a meeting of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, Alsheich said that although Arabs constitute 21% of Israel’s population, they account for 58% of total crimes, 55% of attempted murders, 47% of thefts, and 27% drug dealing.
Alsheich said there was a great drive within the Israeli Arab community for more to be done to combat crime: “This picture is not only of concern to the police, but also to the Arab community itself…There is a strong desire to strengthen policing in the Arab community. I met dozens of heads of Arab local authorities and discovered that there was great willingness”.
The new programme seeks to recruit 1,300 new officers, and build dozens of new stations in Arab areas of the country.
Mujahid Awawida, the mayor of the Hakrush’s hometown of Kafr Kanna in northern Israel, praised the programme, particularly as it related to combating the prevalence of illegal firearms.