IDF forces entered the Arab settlement of Qalandiya, a "refugee camp" north of Jerusalem, in the middle of the night on Thursday, keeping their promise made earlier in the day to MK Michael Ben Ari . Their goal: the recovery of sheep stolen from an Israeli sheep farmer.
INN had reported that early Thursday morning a flock of valuable sheep had been stolen from a resident of Tel Zion, a community in the area, and that footprints led to Qalandiya. The owner's complaint to the police was ignored and the investigator with whom he filed his complain told him that there was no way the police would enter the Arab-populated village.
The Tel Zion resident decided to turn to MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) who also tried unsuccessfully to involve the police. The investigator in the Shaar Benjamin Police Station refused to even speak to him.
MK Ben Ari did not take this sitting down. He informed the police that if nothing happened by Thursday night, he and a group of activists including Hevron's Baruch Merzel, Itamar Ben Gvir, Meir Bartler and others would march on Qalandiya. The police met the intrepid MK, who was as good as his word, at the entrance to Qalandiya and promised that the IDF would enter the camp at 1 a.m. to search for the sheep. They asked Ben Ari to keep the plan a secret.
And at 1a.m. Friday morning, IDF officers, the sheepowner, Dotan Shem Tov, accompanied by Nof Zion’s security officer, entered the camp and searched it for the sheep. They were not to be found after the lengthy lapse of time from the theft to the search.
Although disappointed, Ben Ari expressed his gratitude to the soldiers, regretting that he had had to resort to an ultimatum to get the IDF to act. “Unfortunately, as soon as they heard that I was talking about sheep, the police decided to ignore the complaint. However, our sages taught that when dealing with an enemy of Israel, one can go out to battle on the Sabbath for economic reasons, even over stolen straw and animal fodder. Today it is sheep, tomorrow people’s lives. We can’t let this policy of letting them get away with crime continue. I am really pleased that common sense ruled the day rather than the usual resigned, and even fawning, attitude to Arab crime. Perhaps this is a watershed—for us, at least—in not allowing the encroachment of Jewish rights and property to continue unchecked".