In an effort to curb a rash of deadly stabbings, the Israeli Cabinet authorized the police on Sunday to ‘stop and frisk’ individuals on the street, even if there is no indication they are armed.
If the bill passes the Israeli parliament, police will be able to “search anyone in a place prone to violence” if the police think there is a reason the person may use a weapon, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“Following recent terrorist attacks, there is an urgent need to give the police authority to conduct body searches in order to better deal with knife terrorism,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told the Jerusalem Post. “This is another step I am promoting in a series of decisions to strengthen the police and its authority to increase personal security in the streets.”
On Sunday afternoon, one person was killed and ten were injured when an attacker opened fire at a central bus station in the southern city of Beersheba.
Police officials told the Associated Press that an Israeli soldier was killed, five police and five civilians were wounded in the attack.
As public fear of Palestinian street attacks has increased, four cities including Tel Aviv announced a temporary ban on Arab workers in schools, Reuters reported.
Israeli police have also set up roadblocks and checkpoints at the entrances of Palestinian neighborhoods in east Jerusalem.
According to NewsHour special correspondent Martin Seemungal, the fear is driven in large part by the randomness of the knife attacks.
“This round of violence, of strife… is basically driven by random knife attacks, lone wolves,” he said. “Not only does that cause a lot of tension for people going about their daily lives… but it makes it very difficult for the Israeli police to combat it.”
On Saturday, Palestinians carried out knife attacks on Israelis in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Four of the attackers were shot and killed by police.
Over the past month, eight Israelis have died in stabbings, while Israeli soldiers and police have shot and killed around 40 Palestinians in clashes.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday he plans to meet separately this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to try to ease tensions.