The Minster attended a ceremony on Tuesday, marking the signing of a "City Without Violence" pact in Beit Shemesh. The ceremony was conducted at the Piyas Center in Beit Shemesh, and in attendance were the Mayor of Beit Shemesh, Moshe Abutbul; Director of the Policing and Community Department, Shayka Horovitz; Director of the City Without Violence program, Dani Shachar; Jerusalem District Police Commander, Niso Shaham; the Beit Shemesh Police Chief; Deputy Mayor of Beit Shemesh; City Council members; department heads; principals and teachers; and representatives from the Ministry of Public Security and the Anti-Drug and Alcohol Authority.
While Beit Shemesh joined the City Without Violence program in 2010, the pact-signing ceremony is an event which marks the beginning of a phase in which the entire city adopts a unified approach against violence.
The ceremony was led by the Director of the City Without Violence program in Beit Shemesh, Moran Yitzhak. In Beit Shemesh the program runs a variety of activities to combat violence, including street guides, patrols, defense guides, recreational activities, and soon, will install 100 cameras at central and sensitive locations throughout the city. A new multidisciplinary center to prevent violence is set to open in the city, in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Services.
At the ceremony, Minister of Public Security, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, said, "The Police on their own cannot solve all of society's problems. Naturally, the Police perform the urgent tasks, though there are many other incidents. Violence in Israeli society is on the news and in the newspapers every morning. We see it everywhere – from sports stadiums to beaches to schools; it's shameful. Is the solution to keep deploying more and more police officers?"
According to the Minster, the solution to the problem of violence is cooperation between all the agencies and departments involved in the City Without Violence program, led by the government ministries and municipalities.
Beit Shemesh Mayor, Moshe Abutbul, addressed the violent incidents that took place in his city a few months ago, and said, "Launching the 'City Without Violence' pact is an important ceremony in Beit Shemesh. The past months have been very unpleasant for us, and I am happy they are behind us and will not repeat themselves. The city of Beit Shemesh, and me as its leader, are opposed to all forms of violence, and there is no legitimacy from any rabbi to use violence."
Representative of the high school students, Ariel Kanizo, of the Branko Weiss high school, also addressed the effect of violence on the youth's sense of security, and said, "Through the activities of 'City Without Violence' we will instill the values of the program and begin a new path."
City Without Violence is an inter-ministry project which aims to prevent violence in municipalities. The program operates on a number of different levels, such as law enforcement, education, welfare, absorption and more. The program began in Eilat and has since been adopted and expanded by the government; and is now active in 100 towns and cities across the country. According to the statistics of the Israel Police, in many of the cities where the program operates, the number of cases incidents involving violence and crime has dropped significantly since the program was launched.