Netanyahu 'determined' to harness Shin Bet to war on crime scourge

PM says integration of intelligence agency into fight against surge in violent crime in Arab sector is a stopgap until police recruit more officers and establishment of National Guard

Liran Tamari|
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that he is “determined” to harness the Shin Bet internal security agency to fight the rampant violent crime in the Arab sector, which has claimed the lives of more than a century of victims since the beginning of the year.
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“We are determined to fight this contemptible phenomenon and cut off the snake’s head — the criminal gangs,” he said at the opening of the weekly Cabinet meeting.
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ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו בישיבת הממשלה
ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו בישיבת הממשלה
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: Alex Gamburg)
“To that end, I will convene a special meeting to integrate Shin Bet into the focused effort against crime families. I insist on the immediate inclusion of the Shin Bet.
The premier also addressed concerns about mobilizing an intelligence agency tasked with counterterror missions against Israeli citizens. "I hear the criticism, but this is the only way we can turn the trend quickly and provide an answer to Arab Israeli citizens who hope for the restoration of order," he added.
"Our government has allocated a massive budget for the police to employ thousands more officers and establish the National Guard, but all of this takes time - and we don't have time. The murders in the Arab sector have become a national crisis."
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זירת הירי ביפיע
זירת הירי ביפיע
Scene of carnage in Yafa
(Photo: Nahum Segal)
Netanyahu’s remarks come after a bloody weekend that began Thursday afternoon with a shooting attack in the Arab northern town of Yafa that claimed the lives of five people, including a 15-year-old boy — Israel’s deadliest non-terrorist rampage since the brutal murder of six members of the Oshrenko family in 2009.
As of Sunday morning, 102 members of Israel's Arab sector have been killed in attacks by criminal gangs since the beginning of 2023, with the death toll well on course to triple itself compared to the year before.
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