Minister in charge of police says 'very violent' culture to blame for Arab sector violence
Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan draws ire of Joint List leader who calls the remarks 'racist' and accuses the minister of victim blaming; comments come in wake of protests against lack of police response to rise of violence in Israel's Arab communities
"Arab society, and I say that with sadness, is a very violent society,” said Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan in an interview with Radio Jerusalem. “It has to do with the fact that a mother can give a son permission to murder his sister because she is dating a man who isn’t liked by the family.”
Erdan’s comments come in the wake of protests against the lack of police and government response to the recent rise in violence in Israel's Arab communities.
"It has to do with the fact that in their culture many verbal disputes end with someone pulling out a knife or weapons," the public security minister added.
Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh slammed Erdan’s comments, calling the remarks “racist.”
"Instead of taking responsibility for securing the safety of all citizens of this country, Erdan chooses to hide behind racist allegations and shift the responsibility onto the victims,” said Odeh.
“The number of murders in the Arab sector before the October 2000 events (a series of protests in Arab cities and towns that sparked the Second Intifada) was the same as the national average,” he said.
"Crime in Arab society is not a product of Arab culture but rather government racism. A minister who sees us as enemies and refuses to protect us from the criminal organizations that obtain the vast majority of their weapons from the military.”
When reached for comment, Erdan refused to apologize and said his sentiments are reiterated by Arab MKs who are “familiar with this phenomenon.”
Israel's Arab citizens on Sunday threatened to intensify the protests, which they say will include blocking roads around the country until the government acts against the wave of violence that has claimed the lives of 68 members of the community since the start of 2019.