From Alienation to Cooperation: The Minority of Israeli Arabs and the Police

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Literature and experience point to two central problems of policy with regard to minority relations that can be described as "under-policing" and "over-policing.” Thus, minorities who live in poor neighborhoods can suffer from police neglect, from an aggressive police approach or, at times, from both. As a result, the police can have a legitimacy problem vis-à-vis minority groups that may undermine its efficacy. This combination of over-policing and under-policing can have grave implications for the police ability to function among this group. This issue needs to be studied in order to open up a public debate and begin to discuss solutions to the relations between citizens and the police, an institution significant to their everyday life.
Similar dilemmas in other parts of the world have led to reforms intended to foster multicultural policing. We examine whether these reforms can be adapted to the special needs of Israeli Arabs. We are interested on issues of recruitment and diversity, training and cultural sensitivity and the establishment of police-community relations. Police reforms must be designed according to the communities involved and have to address the problems identified as central. This identification and the suggested reforms require an in-depth study of the community and the history of its relations with the police, as well as a mapping of the perception, needs and the desires of the community from the police.
In order to suggest a comprehensive police reform adapted to the special needs of the Israeli Arabs we identified the perceptions of the police among them, the problems they find in police work and their needs an expectation in terms of public service and policy. This necessary mapping research will provide opportunities to integrate minority communities in the police work and, consequently, enhance trust and legitimacy and improve the police work among them.


Keywords: Public Service and Policy, Multicultural Policing, Minorities
Stream: Sociology, Geography
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr Fany Yuval

Lecturer, Public Policy and Administration, Ben Gurion University of the Negev
Beer Sheva, Israel


Dr Guy Ben-Porat

Lecturer, Public Policy and Administration, Ben Gurion University
Beer Sheva, Israel


Ref: I08P0806