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Arab Israelis deplore growing violence, political indifference

The recent killing of an Arab Israeli journalist highlights the depth of the problem of violence and crime within the Israeli Arab community.
A torched observation post is seen outside a religious Jewish school following night clashes between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews, Lod, Israel, May 11, 2021.

Growing violence within the Israeli Arab society has featured in several election campaigns in the past. A recent report by the Abraham Initiatives stated that 78 Israeli Arabs have lost their lives to date in 2022, in circumstances tied to violence and crime. Still, ahead of the Nov. 1 elections, Israeli Arab politicians were focused this week on another issue — that of their future Knesset lists.

Drama transpired Sept. 15 as the process of submitting candidate lists to the central election commission ended. The Arab Joint List broke apart moments before the lists were submitted. Balad, one of the three factions making up the Arab Joint List, announced that it would run alone and split off from its partners to the list — Hadash and Taal — following differences of opinion around the sixth slot on the list, which was set aside for Balad. 

Israeli Arabs are tired of political machinations. They are tired of their representatives dealing with issues others than those most important to them, namely the growing violence and yearslong lack of health-care and education infrastructure. Their despair explains predictions for an especially low turnout at the upcoming elections. In fact, a News 13 poll conducted Sept. 15 showed that 47% of Israeli Arabs consider battling violence the most important issue in this election. Evidently, many of them care little about the internal quarrels within the Arab Joint List.

Indeed, one can understand the Arab community, as shooting incidents have become routine and no month, or week, goes by without a murder. If in the past murders involved criminals, we see in recent years that the phenomenon has expanded and members of the public have become targets. 

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