Last updated: 16 February, 2014

Netanyahu declares a new war

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday police should combat organised crime with old and “new means”, after the weekend slaying of a gang member sparked media fury.

“We are determined to uproot this severe phenomenon and we give full backing to the Israel police to use existing and new means against organised crime,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting.

“The citizens of Israel should not be the ones worrying to walk freely on the streets, it’s members of crime families who should be worried, and jailed as soon as possible,” he added.

Netanyahu did not spell out the “new means”, but his remarks came as Israeli media stepped up criticism of the failure by law enforcement authorities to put an end to a series of killings.

On Saturday an Arab Israeli gang member was gunned near the Tel Aviv beach, with the Jerusalem Post saying it was the fourth killing in two weeks.

Haaretz newspaper also reported that over the past months three car bombs exploded in central Israel.

The violence, it said, is a reminder of “the sounds of explosions that were once almost solely the hallmarks of Palestinian attacks” in Israeli cities during the second intifada, or uprising, of 2000-2005.

The Jerusalem Post cited a police investigator who said some of the crime gangs’ methods “would make an intelligence agency proud.”

“What we need now is an iron hand,” said the Israel Hayon daily. “The old means and rules are not good enough to maintain a framework for normal life.”

Yediot Aharonot newspaper lamented the fact that “gangsters are no longer afraid of anything.”