According to police and local officials, a man was shot dead in the village of Bi’na in northern Arab Israel.
In a statement, police said that unknown armed men had fired from a passing car at another vehicle. “As a result of the shooting, a man in his forties was seriously injured. His death was later confirmed by medical staff, police said.
Bi’na Mayor Ali Abu Iyad identified the victim as 44-year-old Salim Abd al-Karim Hasarma. His brother, Ibrahim Hasarma, was killed by gunfire in December 2019.
“It was a car chase and he fled for his life before he was killed. The violence in Arab society is overwhelming, and the police have not yet solved the murders we have seen in Bi’na. They show up to patrol and leave without doing anything, Abu Iyad said in a phone call.
Abu Iyad testified that the Hasarwa family had been in conflict with another local family, whom he refused to name. But he stressed that he could not confirm whether the dispute was related to the shooting.
An investigation has been launched into the shooting, police say. While the police report initially identified the site of the shooting as Deir al-Asad, the city’s mayor confirmed that it had actually taken place in the Bi’na neighborhood. A spokesman for the northern police of the Israeli police did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
CCTV images from the scene showed the victim driving down an alley, chased by his pursuers in a second car. He is then shot down as he tries to escape on foot.
The blatant murder marks a gloomy milestone: Since the beginning of 2021, there have been 100 murders in Arab communities, according to the Abraham Initiative’s non-profit organization. About 85 were citizens of Israel and another 15 were Palestinians, either from East Jerusalem or with an Israeli residence permit.
“Hundreds have been murdered since the beginning of the year in Arab society. Thousands injured, tens of thousands traumatized and a fear that belongs to each of us, “tweeted Meretz Minister Issawi Frej.
With over two months left in the year, 2021 is about to become the bloodiest year for Arab society since a wave of crime began there several years ago.
The murder rate has risen sharply since 2015, when 64 Arab Israelis were killed, compared to 38 Jewish Israelis. In 2020, Jewish Israelis saw similar 42 murders while Arab Israelis saw 96 violent deaths, according to the Abraham Initiatives.
Government officials blame the violence on powerful organized crime rockets that have emerged after decades of state neglect and lawlessness in Arab cities and towns.
The violence is confirmed by a stream of illegal weapons. Hundreds of thousands of illegal weapons are believed to remain in Israel, many of them in Arab communities. The police have tried to strike at the free-flowing weapons – through weapons collection programs and weapons attacks – but to little avail.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government has promised to take exceptional measures to stop the rising murder rate. In early October, ministers signed to involve the powerful Shin Bet Security Agency in the effort, in an unusual and controversial move. The agency, which has powerful legal and technical tools at its disposal, is best known for working against Palestinian terror suspects.
“We are losing the country,” Bennett said during the weekly government meeting, stressing the dire situation among Arab Israelis.
On Sunday, tthe government put forward a proposal which would increase the ability of the Israeli police to conduct searches without a court decision, in a controversial step aimed at curbing the crime wave.
“We are at war. We must give the police and law enforcement agencies better tools to succeed in their missions, Justice Minister Gideon Saar told the cabinet, according to his spokesman.