Threats against dedicated public officials who express their views could cause paralysis, Israel Bar chairman warns

Hashem, who has vindicated me and made peoples subject to me, rescued me from my enemies, raised me clear of my foes, Saved me from lawless men!




(the israel bible)

November 4, 2021

3 min read

One of the most weighty, if not the biggest, challenges facing Israeli society challenges facing Israeli society, the government and the entire law enforcement system these days is the state’s need to eradicate rising violence and crime in Israeli-Arab society, State Attorney Amit Eisman said at the Haifa Law Conference held at the University of Haifa on Thursday. 


Eisman stressed the importance of trust in the state of the Arab-Israeli sector public and that their cooperation in eradicating the phenomenon was vital. “In simple words, without witnesses there are no cases. Without cooperation, it will not be possible to solve crimes; it will not be possible to file indictments. It will not be possible to manage the cases and bring about the conviction of those criminals who harm us all,” he said. 


The State Attorney’s Office is part of the executive authority of the State of Israel and acts as a separate organizational unit within the Justice Ministry. The Office of the State Attorney and the lawyers serving in it are entrusted with representing the State and the public interest before the legal forums. 


Eisman said the government has allocated a large amount of resources to bolster its activities in this field. “In 2019, 29 police operations were carried out in Arab localities. In 2020, despite being the Year of Corona, 43 operations were carried out, and so far in 2021, which has not yet come to an end, there have already been 62 operations.” Over 100 Arab Israeli men, women and children have been murdered by fellow Arabs since the beginning of 2021, and the number of stolen or self-manufactured illegal weapons in the sector has skyrocketed.


Eisman added that one of the most important and central keys to success in the fight against crime in general, and in Arab society in particular, is public trust and cooperation. In the first stage, cooperation of the Arab sector with the Israel Police is needed to investigate and collect evidence of criminal activities of those who carry out crimes. 


In the second stage, assistance is needed from the prosecution authorities in general and the government lawyers in those cases where an indictment is filed against the perpetrators of the offenses, with an emphasis on the those who obtain illegal weapons and use them to carry out serious violence crimes, he said. “Without cooperation, it will not be possible to solve crimes. It will not be possible to file indictments and convict criminals.”


He added that it was clear that deterrence is not the only tool for dealing with violence and crime in Arab society, but that it is a necessary condition. The message that must go out of the entire system is that, as a rule, such offenses will be punished by the arrest of those criminals until the end of legal proceedings against them and by severe punishment behind bars. “In this emergency, I believe that without severe punishment for these offenses, deterrence will be impossible, and without it, we will find ourselves in a situation that will only get worse. “The use of illegal weapons should lead to lengthy prison sentences to deter those who break the law,” he said


Avi Himi, the chairman of the Israel Bar Association, also spoke at the conference. “The phenomenon of silence in Israeli society has reached an alarming point. People are afraid to make their voices heard. Public figures are not only criticized, but despised on social networks. Contempt is so powerful that it leads to fear of paralysis and even threats to the lives and families of those who dare to express their opinion,” he added. 


As an example, he gave threats of physical violence against Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, head of the public health department at the Health Ministry, who is a strong advocate of mass vaccination of the population against Coronavirus. Alroy-Preis, who now has 24-hour police protection, has received murder threats against her and her family from vaccine opponents and called “Nazi” or worse. So have eminent physicians in hospitals and the director-general of the Health Ministry, Prof. Nachman Ash. 


Referring to crime and violence in Arab society, Himi said: “Violence and crime do not stem only from a lack of deterrence or policing but from despair, frustration and a lack of feelings of identity and belonging among many young Israeli Arabs. If we want to eradicate violence, we must give hope. A real solution to the problem – equal coexistence, that will lead to governance by will and not by force.”  


Himi concluded that the Bar Association will support government initiatives in dealing with Arab violence as long as they do not disproportionately violate civil rights. He commented on a proposal to expand the right of police officers to conduct a search without a warrant. “Often, when the fog of legislation dissipates, we find that a law designed to bring about change is only a dead letter or a gimmick.” 




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