The residents of Kiryat Arba have renewed the work of the local civilian patrol of area roads and are working to protect one another from terrorist attacks.
Rabbi Shimon Ben-Zion, a resident of Kiryat Arba who is organizing the effort, said on Tuesday that the civilian patrol force, which was established after the murder of Asher Palmer and his son Yonatan in September, resumed operations on Saturday night.
Rabbi Ben-Zion said that the reason for the move is a recent escalation in rock attacks by terrorists.
“I want to remind everyone that two and a half months ago, Asher and Yonatan Palmer were murdered here, a father and his infant son,” he told Arutz Sheva. “We expected the army to increase its presence in the area after that incident, because when hundreds of rocks are flying on the road leading from Gush Etzion to Kiryat Arba, it is inevitable that one rock will hit a driver. We hoped that the policy would change following the attack, that roads will be closed to the Arabs, that there will be checkpoints, that they will be afraid to throw rocks. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened.”
Rabbi Ben-Zion said that rather than increasing its presence, the military scaled down its presence on the roads.
“Miracles are happening each day,” he said. “Although there was a show of force for several weeks, it’s over. The rocks are back. Just a few days ago they threw a rock at a jeep belonging to the security coordinator of Kiryat Arba. It was a miracle that he didn’t lose control of the vehicle.”
These factors, according to Rabbi Ben-Zion, led the citizens to take their security into their own hands.
“We went out on Saturday night, about thirty men,” he said. “We weren’t trying to be provocative. We examined all aspects from a legal standpoint, and we found that it is our right to travel together in a group. Just as a person can protect his children in Tel Aviv, so can we.”
“Our message to the government and the army is that Jews should not feel like they are in exile where non-Jews are throwing rocks at them,” he added. “We are in Israel. I call on all residents of Judea and Samaria to volunteer and take part. We must do something in the face of this daily reality of rocks and petrol bombs.”
Rabbi Ben-Zion stressed, “We are not coming out against the army, we all served in the IDF. I myself was badly wounded during the First Lebanon War. I’m not against the army, but we have no choice other than backing the army. As soon as we do not have that to anymore, we’ll stop.”
In recent weeks, there has been an escalation in rock and firebomb attacks against Jews in Judea and Samaria.
On Monday, at least three firebombs were thrown at vehicles passing near the city of Shechem, north of the Jewish community of Yitzhar. No one was physically hurt in any of the attacks. IDF soldiers launched a search for the attackers.
Earlier in the day, PA Arab terrorists targeted Israeli motorists with rock attacks in Judea. A bus bearing Israeli license plates was damaged in one such attack while passing the Arab village of El Aroub.
Last month an Israeli man was wounded in a firebomb attack in Samara as he drove near the Jewish community of Karnei Shomron, north of Jerusalem.