ZOA: Protect Jewish Farmers, Too

Israel provides special protection to Palestinian Authority farmers, but terrorists constantly attack Jewish farms. The ZOA demands equality.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 11:55

Trees planted by Jews and uprooted by Arabs
Trees planted by Jews and uprooted by Arabs
Israel news photo: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has demanded that the Israel government provide the same protection to Israel farmers, constantly harassed by terrorists, as it does to Palestinian Authority farmers.

In a letter to Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch, of the 'Israel is Our Home' party, ZOA president Morton A. Klein pointed out that leftist groups often back and incite violence against Jewish farmers in Judea and Samaria, as well as elsewhere in Israel. Israel has deployed extra police officers and troops around PA olive farms for the current olive harvest, where many groves are planted on the land of Jewish communities. The letter also was sent to the party leader, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

“The latest news of the dereliction of duty by Israeli authorities in protecting vulnerable Israeli farmers lawfully tilling their own productive land stands in sharp and dismaying contrast to the proper protection offered to Palestinian farmers,” Klein said.

"Making this asymmetry even worse are the examples of active hostility and indifference to the Israeli farmers shown by some individuals in the security forces whose job it is to protect one and all equally.

"This unacceptable state of affairs requires remedy.”

Klein wrote, “The ZOA hopes that the Netanyahu government [decides] to investigate immediately what has been occurring and will implement all necessary steps to ensure that the Israeli police and army are adequately meeting all their responsibilities in their prime, vital function: protecting the lives and property of Israeli citizens."

Israel National News reported last week that Palestinian Authority Arabs attacked Yisrael Orbach’s orchards twice in four days, setting dozens of trees on fire at his farm near the site of the traditional burial place of Nebi Shmuel (the Prophet Samuel).

"Since the [building] freeze, the Arabs have staged a kind of Intifada against us," Orbach said. He used to herd sheep but was forced to give that up after numerous thefts by Arabs, including those from a nearby village which he reports is filled with members of Hamas. He now grows pomegranate, olive and fig trees, among others, but the Arabs have tried to destroy them, as well.

In a speech taped on video at the Jerusalem Conference last year, Yoel Zilberman, founder of the New HaShomer (Guard) organization, spoke of violent attacks by Bedouin Arabs on Jewish-owned farms in the Negev.