Jamal Hakrush was appointed deputy commissioner of Israel’s national police, the first Arab to be appointed to the force’s second-highest rank, The Times of Israel reported on Wednesday.

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich praised Hakrush at his initiation ceremony, and called for more Arabs to join the police force.

Hakrush, a native of Kafr Kannah in the Galilee, will be in charge of a newly-created division to address the problem of crime in the Israeli Arab community. Alsheich and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan developed a program earlier this year to improve policing in Arab communities, which currently experience what Alsheich called “frighteningly high” rates of domestic violence, murder, and possession of illegal weapons. The initiative plans to recruit 1,300 new officers and establish stations in Arab communities.

“There is a strong desire to strengthen policing in the Arab community,” Alsheich said when announcing the program. “I met dozens of leaders of Arab local councils and discovered that there was great willingness. ‘Just send in the police already,’ they told me.”

Source: The Tower