Carmiel suffering from Arab neighbors’ celebratory gunfire

Custom of shooting guns into the air celebrations in Arab villages has been around for years, but the residents of Carmiel are finally fed up. City resident says, ‘Police say not to leave the house if I’m scared. Is that a solution?’ Mayor petitions minister of internal security on issue

by Ahiya Raved (September 23, 2009 – Ynet)

The celebratory gunfire shot off in Arab towns in the Galilee is not making for particularly happy neighbors. The shooting has reportedly increased during recent nights because of the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of Ramadan.
 
 

 

This has provoked Carmiel Mayor Adi Eldar to petition Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on the issue, demanding that he “exercise all the force of the police to stop the unending gunfire in the neighboring villages.”

 

Nearly every night throughout the summer gun shots can be heard during one of the weddings in the Arab villages nearby Carmiel. The phenomenon increases during the Eid al-Fitr holiday and during major sporting events. In many cases, the explosions heard are from fireworks, but often comes from hunting rifles, revolvers, and even automatic weapons.

 

‘Some nights we can’t sleep at all’

“Our house faces the villages. The situation here is just getting worse,” said Margalit Wolovitch, a resident of the western section of Carmiel. “The gunfire is unbearable, both in terms of the safety risk and in terms of the fact that large weapons caches exist in these villages, and no one is doing a thing.”

 

According to Wolovitch, “There are entire nights that you can’t even shut your eyes here. When there is a wedding, they shoot; when there is a holiday, they shoot; when there are elections, they shoot. Multiple shots in the air at once. On election day last month, they shot throughout the day. At night, I already couldn’t take it anymore and I called Carmiel Police. The operator told me it’s because of the elections, and if I’m afraid he suggest I not leave the house. Is this a solution?”

 

Wolovitch also said that some people would like to move to the city, but change their minds after spending a typical night there.

 

“Nearly every night we are awoken by the gunshots,” said N., who lives in the Givat Ram neighborhood located just a few hundred feet from the Arab villages Biina and Majdal Krum, to Ynet. “I wake up alarmed by the noise – the children, too. The gunshots scare them. I’m not even talking about the prayers from the mosque speakers in the morning. That you can somehow get used to.”

 

Errant bullets have been penetrated houses in the city in the past. In 2007, a city resident even sustained injuries to his hand as a result of a gunshot. The issue is also known in other Galilee towns. Last month, a bullet fired at a wedding in Arara hit the car of a resident of nearby town, Katzir.

 

The Carmiel municipality reported that Mayor Eldar has turned to Minister Aharonovitch for help just as he has to all ministers serving in this position in recent years.

 

“The phenomenon is growing as if there is no law and order,” said Eldar. “If a resident of Carmiel would fire just one bullet, he would be immediately arrested and brought in to the police. It seems as though there is a different law for the villages neighboring Carmiel.”

 

Police: We are and will continue to take action

The Northern District Police claimed that they have been taking intensive action to prevent the gunfire and said that the number of incidents has decreased.
 
Spokesman of the Northern District Chief Superintendent Yehuda Maman said, “Since the beginning of the year, we have taken firm and resolved action against the gunfire phenomenon and against the weapons. Hundreds of weapons and explosive devices have been seized. The operation has been taking place every day and every week in recent months.
 
The spokesperson added, “The police officers are meeting with the leaders of the Arab sector in order to reduce the gunfire phenomenon in general, and most particularly at weddings. The sheikhs too are joining this struggle and have notified us that they have gotten up and left an event in the case of a shooting.”
  

 

 
 
According to Maman, the police detained people who shot in the air during a wedding in two separate incidents last month. The perpetrators were arrested in on the spot in front of all the guests after being photographed by undercover photographers.
 

 

“There were many arrests, mainly along the coastal plain and in the Wadi Ara area. The Galilee has also seen a significant decrease in the number of gunfire incidents in comparison with the past,” he claimed.

 

 

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