Man shot dead in southern Bedouin town, latest victim of Arab community violence

A 26-year-old resident of the Bedouin town of Tel Sheva was shot dead Friday night, in what police suspect was a murder tied to a family feud.

The man was brought by residents to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center in critical condition, where he was pronounced dead.

Police opened an investigation into his death. Since the beginning of the year, nearly 80 Arab Israelis have been murdered, as the community faces ongoing high rates of internal violence.

Arab cities and towns have seen a surge in violence in recent years, with organized crime seen as the main driver.

The year 2020 saw 96 Arab Israelis killed in violence, by far the highest annual toll in recent memory, but 2021’s rate appears set to surpass that number.

Arab Israelis blame the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence, which includes family feuds, mafia turf wars and violence against women.

According to a 2020 Knesset report, some 400,000 illegal weapons are circulating in Israel, the vast majority in Arab communities.

Last month, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that violence and crime in Arab Israeli communities was a “national calamity,” as he met with senior government and police officials to formulate a national plan to tackle the issue.

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