Skip to main content

Crime, arms possession increase in Israeli Arab society

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Knesset member Issawi Frej deplores the increase of weapons within Israeli Arab society and criticizes Israeli policy for not dealing with the phenomenon.
Police officers display seized firearms and ammunition for the media after a smuggling bust in Kaohsiung September 26, 2009. A haul of 181 guns and 22,685 rounds of ammunition were displayed for the media on Saturday as six suspects were arrested in what may be the largest arms smuggling bust ever in Taiwan, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said. CIB officials said the seized weapons are standard models manufactured in Italy, Germany, Israel and the U.S. Picture taken September 26, 2009.   REUTERS/St
Read in 

The date: Saturday evening, Jan. 25. The time: approximately 8 p.m. A phone call to the emergency center reports briefly on an 8-year-old girl with a head injury. A paramedic at the medical center in the Israeli-Arab town Umm al-Fahm is alerted and he rushes to the home in the village of Muawiya in the Wadi Ara region. When he gets there, he finds a girl sprawled on the grass with a severe head wound. A family member tells him that she was hit by a stray bullet. The medic tries to stop the bleeding and has her evacuated to Rambam Hospital in Haifa. She is in critical condition.

This was just one event out of many that is the direct result of the hoarding and illegal use of weapons among Israeli Arabs. Issawi Frej, Knesset member of the Meretz Party and resident of the northern town of Kfar Qasim, described it like this: “If you don’t have a gun, you don’t exist.” In an interview with Al-Monitor, he said that the situation has become so serious that over the past few months, educated young couples in Arab localities are considering raising one of their sons to be a “thug” so that he can protect his brothers and sisters. “If you don’t have a thug,” he said, “you could be humiliated.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.