Israel’s Arab citizens held a general strike on Thursday, protesting the rising crime rate in their community and what they claim is the failure of the authorities to help deal with it.

Arab Knesset members also boycotted the swearing-in ceremony at the Knesset on Thursday.

Knesset member Yousef Jabareen (Hadash) of the Joint Arab List stated, “Today, during the opening session of the Knesset, we will faithfully represent our constituents as participants in the demonstration in the Galilee. We will be leading the protests against rising crime and violence in our communities, and the weak response of Israeli law enforcement agencies.”

Jabareen said that the vast majority of gun crime takes place in Israel’s Arab towns, and that police are “refusing to lift a finger.”

“The state is obligated to protect its residents, Arabs and Jews alike; however, 95 percent of shooting incidents are in Arab localities,” said Jabareen. “We can’t engage in ‘business as usual’ as blood continues to flow in Arab towns and villages with the police and enforcement agencies refusing to lift a finger.”

The protest comes after brothers Ahmed and Khalil Mana were killed on Tuesday in the northern Israeli town of Majd al-Krum, reportedly after being shot during a fight, reported Ynet news. A third brother and another person were also injured, according to the report.

That same day, unidentified suspects shot at the car of the local council leader in the nearby town of Nahf.

The killings on Tuesday raised the death toll due to violence in the Arab community to 13 in September alone and 68 since January, according to the report.

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