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Violence worsens in Israel during Ben-Gvir’s era: Report

Violence has worsened within Israeli society since far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir took office, Israeli media said Sunday.

According to Haaretz newspaper, Israel saw 78 killings in the first four months of 2023, up from only 34 in the same period last year, the highest in decades.

At the current rate, the death toll in Israel “could go as high as 230 cases for the entire year,” the daily said.

Among the victims are 60 Israeli Arabs, up from 26 in the same period last year and 16 Jews compared to 8, in addition to two foreigners.

According to the latest official data, Israel’s Arab population is estimated at 2.048 million, constituting 21% of the country’s total population of 9.7 million.

The number of homicides among women has also increased to reach 11 cases this year, including nine who were victims of domestic violence. Only five women were killed last year.

Ben-Gvir took office as national security minister in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in December 2022.

Ben-Gvir holds far-right views on the Palestinians and has called for their displacement. He has repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in storming the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem.

In November 2022, Israeli President Isaac Herzog warned in a leaked audio that “the whole world is worried” about Ben-Gvir’s far-right views.

*Writing by Ikram Kouachi in Ankara

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