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Arab Israelis go on strike as crime wave devastates community

Arab Israeli municipalities, businesses and community centers are on strike today, demanding law enforcement agencies do more to stem the violence affecting towns and villages across the country.

Arab towns and villages across Israel launched a general strike Tuesday over the wave of violence and crime plaguing the Arab Israeli sector. 

According to Haaretz, 169 Arab Israelis have been killed since the beginning of the year, compared with 112 in all of 2022.  Arab Israelis make up some 21% of the general population. About half of them live in towns, and the other half in rural villages and local councils. They are located in five main regions: the Galilee in the north, the triangle in the center-north, the Golan Heights, east Jerusalem and the southern Negev area. 

Local Arab authorities, businesses, community centers and academic institutions are taking part in the strike. Schools were open students for only two hours Tuesday morning to discuss the rise in violence. Afterward, the students joined local demonstrations. 

Tuesday’s strike comes as another Arab Israeli man was killed earlier that day in the town of Iksal, in the north of the country. Two other people were injured in the shooting. Three people were shot and killed during the weekend in Kafr Qara in two separate incidents. The village's imam, Sheikh Sami Abed al-Latif, was shot and killed as he was exiting the mosque last Saturday. Police is investigating the circumstances behind the incident, which shocked the Arab Israeli sector. A man and his 13-year-old nephew were both shot and killed in their vehicle two days earlier in Kafr Qara. Police suspect the killing was gang related. 

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