90 Sheep Stolen, Farmers Fear ‘Ramadan Crime Spree’
An entire flock of sheep, approximately 90 in total, was stolen late Saturday night from a Jewish farmer in the Samaria (Shomron) community of Givat Ronen.
Israeli residents suspect local Arabs in the theft, and say they managed to track the thieves to a nearby Bedouin community.
Local residents accuse IDF soldiers in the area of having failed to stop the thieves. A local security guard reported seeing the thieves leading the sheep east toward Highway 60, and reported it to the soldiers – but nothing was done about it, they charge.
The victim’s friends and neighbors attempted to follow the thieves themselves. They say footprints led to a nearby Bedouin encampment, and that the Bedouins present “were acting very strangely, in a way that indicated they were the thieves.”
However, they were unable to find the herd itself, and so left without making a formal accusation.
The herd’s owner has been left without his source of income, they note.
Agricultural theft has become a huge problem for Jewish farmers, particularly in areas where Jewish-Arab tensions are high, including the Negev and Galilee. In the Negev, Galilee, Judea and Samaria, farmers have set up their own patrol groups in an attempt to prevent thefts.
Residents of Givat Ronen warned Sunday that the crime spree is only expected to get worse over the next month. The Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins this week, they noted, and tends to bring with it an increase in thefts of sheep and other livestock, possibly due to the costs of celebrating the holiday and the festive meals that are often consumed after sunset, when Muslims are allowed to eat after having fasted daily from several hours before sunrise.