Dozens of Efrat residents, along with activists from the Women in Green group, demonstrated Wednesday afternoon at the northern entrance to Efrat in Gush Etzion. The protest, part of the effort by Judea and Samaria residents to “take back the roads” and make them safe from terrorist rock-throwers and gunmen, was attended by dozens of people who have had enough of the ongoing attacks on drivers, a spokesperson for the protesters said.
The protest was held near the entrance of the village of Artas, from where many attacks against drivers have originated. According to one of the protest's organizers, youths from the village often throw large rocks at vehicles, and burn tires on the road in order to block the highway, making it easier for them to attack.
Protesters said they hope Wednesday's event would bring attention to the plight of all Gush Etzion residents and prompt authorities to do something. “If these attacks continue, however, we will hold many more events that will drive the point home,” said one of the organizers. “We will be very creative in our protests, continuing until someone wakes up and does something to help us,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Women in Green head Nadia Matar said “Arab rock-throwing is not just a physical danger, but also damages the honor of the Jewish and Israeli people. The Arabs' purpose is not just to kill the driver they are throwing rocks at, but also to sow fear into the hearts of Jews and prevent us from using the roads of the Land of Israel altogether. The IDF must respond in a way that is going to make it clear that Israel will not accept these attacks.
“Unfortunately, in recent years the army's hands have been tied. We send our good wishes and hope for success to the new defense minister Moshe Ya'alon, and we hope that he will quickly adjust the instructions given to IDF soldiers on how when to open fire on rioters, terrorists and rock-throwers,” Matar said.