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Israeli-Arabs Shoot Cow-Farmer for His Land

The desire to graze his cows in pre-1967 Israel, not far from several Arab villages, almost cost Amir Engel his life - at the hands of Arabs who wanted him out.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 12/5/2006, 3:15 PM / Last Update: 12/5/2006, 4:42 PM

The story was reported on Arutz-7's INN Hebrew-language internet television channel, where a short video clip of the story can be viewed.

In 1991, Amir Engel, a resident of one of the farming communities in the Jezreel Valley, leased and registered land nearby for the purpose of grazing his cows. Well aware that he was the only Jewish cow-farmer in an area populated by seven Arab villages, Engel refused to give in. "We were constantly harassed by Arabs," he said, "with violence, threats, damage to our property, and more. No one could control them."

A year and a half ago, the damage was particularly grave. "They came with tractors, tore down posts, and uprooted the whole fence," Engel said. "We found ourselves in a real war." The Arabs threatened that if he did not leave, they would kill him.

Two months ago, they tried. Engel recounts what happened on October 6 of this year: "I arrived in old Ein Dor [between Afula and Kfar Tavor] and made my usual patrol around the cows with my jeep. I heard someone call my name, so I turned around with the jeep. I saw standing in front of the jeep two Arabs, who said that they had lost a red horse that was seen on my property. I told them not to worry, to give me their phone numbers, and if I saw a red horse, I would let them know."

"But while I was talking to them, I felt someone try to open the door. He stuck his hand in, turned the ignition off and took the keys out. Then I realized that I was in a battle. He pulled out a large stick and tried to smash it into my face; I grabbed it, but then I felt something happening to my right. I looked and saw the other Arab pull out a gun. He said nothing, just shot me - in my leg and hand. But I bent down, he couldn't shoot any more and they ran away."

Engel was seriously hurt, but escaped with his life. He today limps around on crutches, while his wife and sons continue to graze the cattle. "I remember that it occurred on the eve of Sukkot," his wife Rochelle says, "and it was the first year that I did not sit in a Sukkah - because I spent the holiday in the hospital with Amir... But this is not our personal problem. It's a problem of lands throughout the State of Israel. Someone had better open his eyes, because it's a serious issue. These guys [Arabs] think that with violence, they will get our land."

Amir himself says, "The conflict between Jews and Arabs did not end in 1948. It's always here - sometimes it's more moderate and sometimes it explodes. The Arabs have not given up their goal of wiping out their defeat of 1948 and of wiping Israel off the map. Ever since Oslo [the Oslo Accords of 1993], they see us as a weak foe, one that is willing to give up everything for two days of quiet - and since then, their brazenness and desire to take the land has grown tremendously."

Asked how she and her family deal with this threat on their own, Rochelle later told Arutz-7,
"We're only partially alone. Our neighbors try to help us with some of the damages that were caused - I'm talking about many kilometers of torn-down and cut fences and the like - and fields that the Arabs burn every summer...

"But as far as the police go, I can't deny that regarding this murder attempt, they are finally investigating seriously. They caught some suspects from the village of Tamra nearby, and it looks like they are in the right direction. For years, I would submit complaints to the police here, and I got to know the clerk pretty well; I would always tell her that no one is taking this seriously, and it will end up in a bad way. Today she told me how right I was..."

The Engels can be emailed at "benik@en-harod.org".