President Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin hosted a group of mothers (and a sister) of four Arab Israeli citizens who were killed in criminal incidents in recent months. The mothers arrived at the President’s House in a protest march against violence within the Arab sector. The march went from Haifa to Jerusalem under the banner “Mothers’ March for Life”. Mothers are calling for a fight against crime in Arab society. The president stated,
“This is not a struggle of Arab society alone. It is a struggle of all of us as a society, on all levels – in schools, colleges, and businesses. We must say ‘no’ to violence, ‘no’ to crime, ‘no’ to illegal weapons.”
The mothers were accompanied by Arab members of the Israeli Knesset parliament (MKs) Ayman Odeh and Osama Saadi from the joint list.
Muna Khalil from Haifa lost her 28-year-old son Khalil. Jazia Jabali lost her son Saad who was murdered in Taibeh. Pardus Habiballah lost her only daughter, 16-year-old Arub, who was run over and killed in a hit-and-run accident in Nazareth. Kifah Agbaria lost her brother Khaled, who was murdered in Umm al-Fahm. Since the beginning of 2020, there have been more than 50 criminal shootings in the Arab Israeli sector.
At the beginning of his speech, the President said:
“I would like to express my condolences for your terrible loss. May you know no more sorrow. The pain is great and there is no consolation.”
“The state must protect its citizens, and the citizens must see the police as guardians of their homes… it is the responsibility of us all. We must link arms and fight the plague of crime and illegal firearms on all fronts… Arab society must mobilize at all levels.”
The president added:
“In the State of Israel, no citizens are ‘more equal’ or ‘less equal.’ The State of Israel has an equal obligation to provide protection for every citizen – and each and every one of them has the right to live in security.”
He ended his speech:
“I hear your voice as women, as mothers, as leaders coming out of the community. This voice is important. It has the power to make real change and save lives. Only the cooperation of all parties, the police, the education system, the leaders and the people on the ground, will be able to take on this important challenge. It’s in our souls.”