Jewish farmer Avraham Hertzlich suffered a huge blow Friday morning with the loss of a herd of 400 goats. The goats were taken from Givat Hayekev, the temporary housing site for residents of the destroyed Jewish community of Migron.
Hertzlich lives in the Samaria (Shomron) town of Tapuach, but wanders Judea and Samaria with his animals.
Police and military units responded to reports of the theft and began searching the nearby Arab town of Michmas and Bedouin tents in the area. However, police now believe the thieves came from outside the region and brought trucks with them which they used to spirit the goats away.
The herd that was stolen had been under threat for years, Shmuel Hertzlich, Avraham’s son, told Arutz Sheva on Friday. “There were threats, both threats at attempted theft and at harm to the shepherd,” he said. Israel’s Shin Bet security service would issue periodic warnings to his father, he said.
He expressed frustration with the sense of lawlessness in the region, quoting the Biblical phrase, “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
The Hertzlich family has been hit hard by Judea and Samaria lawlessness in the past: In 2000, Avraham's daughter Talya was murdered alongside her husband, Rabbi Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane. The two were slain in front of their young children in a random terrorist shooting in Samaria.
In August an Israeli judge warned that Arab crime rings had taken agricultural theft to a new level. Recent thefts from Israeli farms testify to “the development of a professional, organized theft industry… with cooperation between residents of the [Palestinian Authority] territories and residents of Israel,” said Judge Lili Yung-Gefer.
The wave of agricultural thefts “does tremendous damage” and “threatens to cut at the base of the existence of stable, financially productive agriculture in Israel,” she warned. All Israelis pay for such crimes with higher prices at the grocery store, she said.
In May, a resident of Emanuel shared a troubling tale that hinted as to how Palestinian Authority residents often manage to make off with entire herds of animals without being caught by Israeli security.