The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
A Jewish farmer went to harvest olives Tuesday morning from an olive grove he owns in the Shilo region, but on arrival he found that the grove had been stripped of olives, and dozens of trees had been destroyed.
All that farmer Erez Ben-Saadon was left with were broken branches, cloth olive sacks with Arabic writing on them, and spilled olives on the ground.
“We don’t know what to do now,” he said. “We’re talking about tens of thousands of shekels lost, and serious damage to the grove.”
This is not the first time Ben-Saadon has fallen victim to theft and vandalism at the hands of his Arab neighbors. “Last Sabbath, Arabs harvested from my trees and stole olives from 40 other trees in the same area,” he reported.
“A few years ago, they planted three bombs in our vineyard in Har Bracha,” he added. “It was a miracle that nobody was hurt.”
“Uprooting trees, theft, and throwing rocks at farmers are not rare, unfortunately,” he said. “Every year we suffer from assaults and thefts, both from the Arabs and from anarchists and leftists from around the world.”
“It’s outrageous that next to my home in Rechelim, Arabs harvest olives without being disturbed, and yet they attack us in the media, as if we’re plotting against them, while Arab attacks and thefts targeting Jewish farmers in Samaria are met with silence,” he declared.
Samaria Residents’ Committee head Benny Katzover confirmed that farmers in the region have faced frequent harassment, theft and vandalism during the olive harvest season, as well as attempted libel. “Unfortunately, this serious issue is met with a lack of proper response,” he said.
“I call on the legal authorities to take Arab and far-left attacks as seriously as they take Jewish attacks on Arabs,” he added.
About the Author: As a child David Ha'ivri made Aliya with his family from the US in 1978. Married, with 8 children, he lives in a small town in Samaria. He is the director of public diplomacy and communications for the Shomron Liaison Office. He works with GatherIsrael.com to promote Aliyah. He is social media master and strategic consultant. Follow David Ha'ivri's daily activity on Twitter @haivri.
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