Uncertain future in Israel ‘war zone’

Nabil Hayek recovering at Hadassah Ain Karem Hospital with his father, Allam Hayek, and mother, Hanan Hayek, in Jerusalem. Nabil was one of four people injured in a shooting at a butcher’s shop in an Arab town in northern Israel in late July. He once had a promising future on the football field. — ©2023 The New York Times Company

WHEN the shots rang out, the young football player was in line at a butcher’s shop in an Arab town in northern Israel. Struck in his leg, he tried to flee, he said. But a black-clad masked gunman chased him, firing into his legs at point-blank range, smashing bones, crushing muscle and severing blood vessels.

A talented midfielder, Nabil Hayek, 19, was one of four people injured in the assault in late July, victims of a surge of gun violence within Israel’s Arab communities, much of it linked to loan-sharking and protection rackets run by Arab crime organisations.

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