Regavim enables residents of Arab and Bedouin communities, who are victims of rampant violation of firearms regulations but are afraid to lodge formal complaints with the Israel Police, to file complaints discreetly and receive legal counsel: Complaints may be submitted through Regavim’s new Hebrew-Arabic “Hot-Shot Hotline” Facebook page, called “Stop the Shooting.”
The problem of illegal guns in the Arab sector hits the news every so often, bringing with it a new wave of discussion, criticism, and the usual hand-wringing (see our coverage from 2016 here). Unfortunately, it usually ends there; no one seems to have found a way to deal with the problem systematically.
The most recent round was brought on by a series of videos that innocent bystanders posted on social media, capturing masked gunmen shooting automatic weapons from vehicles speeding through Beer Sheva’s Ohalim Junction and in residential areas in Segev Shalom and Rahat. The videos went viral, and the entire country was, once again, talking about the problem.
Almost immediately, a resident of Rahat sent an uncensored version of one of the videos to Regavim’s Facebook Messenger inbox. In this version, the license plate numbers of the vehicles involved in the shooting spree were plainly visible, and the frightened citizen who shared the footage asked for Regavim’s help to file an official complaint with the police.
Residents of Israel’s Arab and Bedouin communities live under the shadow of the free-for-all of illegal firearms and random shooting in the streets of their towns, committed by local criminals. Although the innocent, law-abiding residents have been suffering from this nightmarish reality for years, they do not file complaints with the authorities, for fear of reprisals.
Regavim stepped up to meet the challenge, creating a unique, discreet, Arabic-language system for citizens who wish to file complaints. The Regavim “Hot-Shot Hotline,” as they have begun to call it, is a protected message system that runs through a unique Hebrew-Arabic Facebook page, allowing anyone with first-hand information or direct involvement in shooting incidents to submit an official police complaint through Regavim’s legal team.
“The lack of law enforcement in the Arab sector is a serious and painful problem whose victims are members of the Arab sector themselves, but Arab MKs have chosen, time and time again, to pass the blame and point accusative fingers at the Israel Police and the State of Israel itself,” said Regavim’s spokesperson.
“The Arab public’s representatives must take a real leadership role, and not simply pay lip service or play their usual blame game. Decisive action is required; they must take responsibility for their own community. Regavim will provide free legal counsel to anyone who is interested in submitting a discreet complaint to the Israel Police.”
Visiting or using Regavim’s “Hot-Shot Hotline” page, “Stop the Shooting,” is as simple as clicking a link, and the page is multi-lingual.
Let’s hope this new cooperative effort helps restore safety – and sovereignty – to the Negev.