Israel Police Commander Jamal Hakrush, who is the first Israeli Arab commander in the police force – and is responsible for police relations with the Arab community – on Thursday slammed the community’s leadership, calling it “excitable and violent. In the end, they have not advanced the interests of the Arab minority – but they have worsened the crisis of trust with the rest of the country.”
Hakrush was appointed to the post earlier this year, after having worked his way through the department to one of its top district-level positions. He spoke Thursday at the invitation of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan at a security conference in Tel Aviv. In the speech, Hakrush was unrelenting in his criticism of Israeli-Arab politicians, including those of the United Arab List.
“From a place of depression and disappointment, the Israeli Arab public chose its leaders to improve their lives – but instead those leaders have embarked on a path of shouting and violence. Their behavior serves to put them in the headlines, but the majority would prefer peace and quiet.”
Hakrush also provided some insights into the behavior of Israeli Arabs. “The society is changing, it is losing its solid standing that it had in the past,” he said. “The changes have brought about a state of chaos. This is the root of the crisis between Israeli and Arab society, and between police and the Arab community.”
The deterioration of authority figures to regulate behavior has been replaced by politicians seeking cheap headlines, and many young people have grown up without authority figures to set them on the right path, he said.
The solution, he said, was to increase police presence in the Arab community – to emphasize that Arabs can feel a part of Israeli society. “Until very recently not one new police station was set up in an Arab town since 1967,” he said, adding that “for years, police brass ignored Arab society, and serving in the police force was considered a traitorous act among many Arabs. I know this is difficult to hear, but how would you feel if it took police over a half hour to get to your town when you had a problem? If you are not in the community, how can you help its residents?”