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Municipal Elections: The Interior Ministry And Israel Police Clash Over Candidates’ Safety

Sep 5, 2023

Municipal Elections

The ongoing dispute between the Interior Ministry and the Israel Police regarding the safety of political candidates during municipal elections has deepened. Thus, there has been apprehension among local candidates in the Arab sector who now find themselves in an increasingly precarious situation.

Over the past few weeks, this dispute has taken a concerning turn as four local politicians in the Arab sector became the targets of criminal organizations, raising serious questions about their safety and the safety responsibilities within the authorities.

Dispute Between The Interior Ministry And Israel Police

In the committee meeting held on Monday to address preparations for the forthcoming municipal elections scheduled for the end of October, there was still no agreement between the police and the Interior Ministry. The police argued that the Interior Ministry should release funds to mobilize security for these political candidates.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry counter-argued that security should be the sole responsibility of the law enforcement agency. They stressed the need for a unified approach to guarantee their safety since the candidates are civilians.

Nevertheless, Israel Police Representative Cmdr. David Shriker and Committee Chairman MK Yakov Asher acknowledged the need to resolve this matter quickly. Shiri, the police representative, said, “Israeli Police are responsible for public safety, and we are wholly committed to finding a solution.”

However, Asher expressed deep concern over the situation, emphasizing that it is unacceptable for civilians to reconsider their political aspirations due to budget disputes between the police and the Interior Ministry. Meanwhile, members of the Arab community have taken to the streets in protest, drawing attention to the escalating violence within their community.

This wave of demonstrations symbolizes their frustration and anxiety in the face of these troubling incidents. Tragically, the violence has already claimed the lives of two candidates in Abu Snan and Tira in August, while another candidate in Nazareth sustained a severe injury.

In a separate incident, shots were fired at the home of Tamra’s mayor. While no one else was harmed, these places have a heightened sense of insecurity.

Hence, it is no wonder that many Arab political candidates are starting to doubt their participation in the upcoming elections. For instance, activist Ihab Jabareen, a staunch supporter of a council candidate for many years, has decided to abstain from participating this time due to the heightened danger facing candidates.

This underscores the profound challenges they face balancing their commitment to public service with their personal safety concerns.

Rising Tensions Within The Arab Community

Meanwhile, the Arab sector, deeply affected by these incidents, has solely blamed the government, claiming that the escalation in violence is a result of the government’s inaction and failure to address the root causes. Moreover, the statistics paint a bleak picture, as the number of Arabs murdered in Israel this year has more than doubled compared to the previous year.

Per records from the Abraham Initiatives, there have been 165 cases of Arab murder in Israel at the time of writing, starkly contrasting the 72 reported at the same time in 2022. Hence, Kfar Kara Mayor Farras Badahi has strongly criticized the Israeli government’s response, accusing it of lacking a concrete plan to address the issue.

He added that the Arab sector may need to explore alternative solutions, including seeking international assistance through organizations like the UN, to ensure the safety of its people. This statement also reflects the growing frustration within the Arab community, which increasingly feels the need to take matters into their own hands to guarantee their safety and well-being.