Thousands of Israelis convened on Saturday in Tayibe to call for an end to violence in the Arab sector and decisive action by police against perpetrators. Only a few days after a high school principal was gunned down in his office, protesters – including members of Knesset – said "we will not be silenced, the police abandoned us."
Haj Yachieh, who worked as the principal of the school for two decades, was murdered during a meeting in his office to prepare for the upcoming school year. A masked man ran into the room, shot him in front of the teachers, and escaped on foot.
An ambulance evacuated Yachieh to Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, where he was declared dead.
"He sat with us and told us that he wishes an exceptionally successful school year, with outstanding achievements for both students and staff," said one teacher. "We will continue on that road and maintain our success."
Rami Haj Yachieh, a Tayibe resident, said during the protest that "the writing was on the wall. Police said there was a forseeable threat on his life, but they did nothing."
Omer, another demonstrator, added that "yesterday a man was murdered near the Kedma police station, near Tayibe. The fact they commit murder near the police show the killers don't give a damn about them. If the police don't capture the perpetrators, then it gives a green light to further killings."
"The situation is very concerning," said Sheikh, who participated in the protest. "A principal was murdered inside a school, and tomorrow maybe a masked man will enter a mosque and murder an Imam or worshippers over nothing."
Sheikh said the police needed to act. "This time the fight needs to be serious and practical. We are tired of hearing speeches and false-promises. We want steps that will eradicate the violence and crime. We must cut contact with anyone who uses a weapon or firearm. Such people are a threat to our lives."
He stressed: "They must understand that we want to live in peace – without violence."