Arab politicians and mayors block main roads in protest of community crime

Dozens of Israeli Arab protesters blocked Israel’s central Route 6 highway, as well as other major highways, on Thursday to protest the government’s alleged inaction to end the crime wave in Arab cities and towns.

The protesters left Kafr Qara, in central Israel, in a convoy of vehicles heading to Jerusalem.

After stopping traffic at the Eyal junction, protesters briefly blocked a main road in Tel Aviv during the afternoon rush hour – the Ayalon Highway near the Hashalom interchange. The road was reopened shortly thereafter.

Parliamentarians from the Joint List bloc of predominantly Arab parties, including Joint List chief Ayman Odeh, participated in the protest.

Several Arab mayors have also joined the convoy, as well as Israeli Arabs who lost loved ones to rampant violent crime within the Arab community.

“We live in a situation where there are murders every two or three days. If our children cannot lead a normal life, the rest of the country cannot carry on normally, ”Odeh said.

Israeli Arabs have long lamented the lack of public order in their cities and towns, where they say police rarely bother to solve killings. But this year is poised to be the bloodiest on record, with 104 murders in the community recorded long before the end of the year.

The government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has vowed to act to end the violence. On Sunday, the government presented a five-year plan of 2.4 billion NIS ($ 784 million) to end the violence; Some more extreme measures are also being considered, such as the involvement of the Shin Bet security service and the expansion of police powers. The plan will now go to the Knesset, where it will be approved as part of the next budget.

However, the Joint List has harshly criticized the plan. “This is a plan to kill 1,400 Arabs,” Odeh said Tuesday in a video posted on his Facebook page, arguing that the proposal does not allocate enough resources to the problem.

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