Daily Israel Report

Theft and Destruction at Jewish-Owned Olive Grove

A Jewish farmer went to harvest olives Tuesday from his grove in the Shilo region, but discovered his trees sawn and stripped of fruit.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 10/25/2012, 11:00 AM

Jewish olive grove destroyed in Shomron
Jewish olive grove destroyed in Shomron
Israel news photo: Shomron Residents' Council

A Jewish farmer went to harvest olives Tuesday morning from his grove in the Shilo region in Samaria (Shomron), but discovered that his grove had been stripped of the fruit. Dozens of trees were destroyed as well, their branches chopped. Many were sawn down.

Farmer Erez Ben-Saadom was left with only broken branches, he said, and fabric olive sacks with Arabic writing. There were also some olives spilled on the ground.

“We don't know what to do now,” the farmer said. “We are talking about tens of thousands of shekels lost, and serious damage to the grove.”

Ben-Saadon said it's not the first time he has has fallen victim to theft and vandalism from his Arab neighbors. “Last Sabbath, Arabs harvested from my trees and stole olives from 40 other trees in the same area,” he told Arutz Sheva. “A few years ago, they planted three bombs in our vineyard in Har Bracha,” he added. “It was a miracle nobody was hurt.

“Uprooting trees, theft and throwing rocks at farmers is not rare, unfortunately,” he said. “Every year we suffer from assaults and thefts, both from the Arabs and from anarchists and leftist who come here from around the world.

“It's outrageous that next to my home in Rechelim, Arabs harvest olives without being disturbed, and yet they attack us in the media as if we're plotting against them – while Arab attacks and thefts targeting Jewish farmers in Samaria are met with silence,” he declared.

Samaria (Shomron) Residents' Committee head Benny Katzover confirmed that farmers in the region have faced frequent harassment, theft and vandalism during the olive harvest season, as well as attempted libel.

“Unfortunately, this serious issue is met with a lack of proper response,” Katzover said. “I call on the legal authorities to take Arab and far-left attacks as seriously as they take Jewish attacks on Arabs,” he added.