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Arab Israelis protest as crime soars, development funds stay frozen

Israeli Arab localities warn that if they do not receive much-needed funds for development, education and city cleaning, they will not open schools once the summer vacation is over.
Arab Israeli citizens and activists lift placards at a rally in the mostly Arab northern city of Umm al-Fahm.

Representatives of Israeli Arab local municipalities protested on Monday in Jerusalem against Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s refusal to transfer hundreds of millions of shekels in budgeted development funding to their localities. 

The representatives also expressed their rage over the ongoing wave of violent crime in the Arab sector, which has claimed the lives of 158 people (according to the count in Haaretz) since the start of 2023 — more than double last year’s rate for the same period. 

The latest Israeli Arab victims were four residents of the northern town of Abu Snan. They were shot and killed Tuesday evening. One of the four was local election candidate Ghazi Sa’ab. Another Israeli Arab local politician — Abed al-Rahman Kashu, director general of the Tira municipality in the north of Israel — was killed on Monday in a shooting incident just outside the local police station. Two other people were injured in the shooting incident. Israel Police said they have opened an investigation into the incident and are conducting searches for suspects. 

On Sunday, a man was run over and killed in the Israeli Arab local council of Reina in the north of Israel, apparently when trying to shoot a person walking in the street. Two people were shot and killed on Saturday in two separate shooting incidents in Arab villages. A grenade was found in the night between Monday and Tuesday near the home of Bedouin town Rahat's mayor, Ata Abu Madighem. Shots were fired at the same house the night before.  

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