A new Knesset bill will allow farmers to defend themselves and their land against thieves after having over 57 million shekels worth of property stolen in 2006.
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The law was finally passed a month ago after one farmer, Shai Dromi, was arrested for shooting at Bedouin thieves who had broken into his farm. One Bedouin was killed. The bill is known as the Shai Dromi law and will allow farmers to drive away anyone they identify as trespassing with criminal intent.
Dromi testified in court that after waking up at 3 a.m. to the barks of his dog, he went outside to his sheep pen and saw large metal wire-cutters. At that moment, he realized that 4 men were around him, one of them holding a large knife or pruning shears over his head. Dromi said that he feared for his life and the lives of his family and the volunteers working on his ranch. He fired one shot. “After the first shot, I fired five more shots at the lower parts of their bodies. My life was in danger, and I shot in order to chase them away,” the Negev rancher.
About 40% of agricultural theft cases involve violence against the farmer or the police, or are committed by someone with a record of violence. Due to only minor penalties for the crime, agricultural theft is often more worthwhile for the thief than stealing a car. Anything metal, such as electrical or computer-based equipment, is targeted by the thieves as are the crops.
As attorney Eidan Abu-Hav explains in the above video, 57 million shekels of stolen property in 2006 may be a low estimate, since many farmers who don’t have insurance don’t bother to report thefts.
Can't see player? Click here for archive footage from protest for Shai Dromi.
The Shai Dromi law has drawn criticism from some farmers because it allows farmers to drive away the thief, but does not provide for harsh punishment of the thieves. Farmers say only harsh punishments will end the wave of theft.