Opinion: Israel Security Agency should tackle organized crime in the Arab sector

Israeli policeLAST MONTH I WROTE an article on Ynet, Israel’s most popular news website, calling on the Israel Security Agency (ISA) to prevent organized crime in the Arab sector in Israel, which has reached a level that the police cannot deal with. The article caused a broad public debate in Israel, as it marked the first time that the ISA was urged to take responsibility outside its security jurisdiction. It elicited public support, as well as opposition against perceived further invasion of privacy and granting additional powers to the ISA.

Crime in the Arab sector in Israel —especially murders— has reached record highs and is rising year after year. In 2020, over 100 people were killed in the Arab sector. There are many allegations that the police are failing to stop this murky wave of crime. The police are at a loss. The opening of more police stations in the Arab sector and increases in the forces allocated to the Arab sector have not made an impact on this gloomy picture.

The most serious crime in the Arab sector, especially organized crime, requires making out-of-the-box, inventive decisions. The Israel Police is not succeeding in this for several reasons: it has no quality intelligence; there is public distrust in the police that prevents citizens from cooperating with it; the police are perceived as an unreliable body that cannot maintain the confidentiality of sources; and mainly because the police is not an intelligence-oriented organization. The issue of crime in this sector, much of which is organized, requires advanced intelligence capabilities and only the ISA knows how to deal with organizations and individuals operating in secret. This is because the ISA has gained vast experience in covering the Arab sector in Israel for counterintelligence reasons. Read more of this post

Israel arrests prominent Arabs on Hezbollah spying charges

Omar Sayid

Omar Sayid

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Israeli authorities have arrested two prominent Arab-Israeli political activists, accusing them of spying on behalf of Lebanese Shiite organization Hezbollah. The arrestees are Omar Sayid (or Sayeed), who campaigns on behalf of Israeli-Arab political party Balad, and Amir Makhoul, who heads Ittijah. This Haifa-based group, known as the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations, aims to combat alleged cases of discrimination against Arab-Israelis. Sayid was arrested by members of the Israeli police and intelligence agency Shin Bet on April 24, and Makhoul was arrested on May 6. But the Israeli media were not allowed to report on the arrests until late last Sunday, due to Israeli censorship laws enforced in “national security investigations”. Nevertheless, news of the arrests began circulating almost immediately on Arab electronic media outside of Israel, and the Israeli government was eventually forced to lift the gag order, upon learning that hundreds of Haifa residents were preparing a demonstration on Monday in support of the two arrestees. Read more of this post