Daily Israel Report

MK Lipman Helps Volunteers Protecting Farmers From Arab Gangs

MK Dov Lipman hails 'Zionism in its purest form' as he joins volunteers protecting isolated farms from Arab bandits.
By Ari Soffer
First Publish: 4/13/2014, 11:15 AM

MK Dov Lipman with HaShomer HaChadash volunteers
MK Dov Lipman with HaShomer HaChadash volunteers
Ainat Bin Nun

Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman took a break from the Israeli political jungle last week in favor of a different kind of wilderness - showing his solidarity with embattled farmers and ranchers in the Israel's frontier Negev and Galilee communities.

Lipman joined some 40 English-speaking olim (immigrants) from the Tel Aviv Internationals group on Friday to help HaShomer HaChadash (The New Guardians) in its efforts to protect outlying Israeli agricultural communities in Israel's northern Galilee region from Arab bandits and other threats to their livelihood.

Among other activities the volunteers constructed a 50-meter terrace to prevent wild cows from ruining fields, and took part in night-time patrols to deter criminal gangs.

HaShomer HaChadash was founded in 2007 to protect farmers whose businesses were collapsing due to constant robberies, intimidation and violence at the hands of organized Arab gangs, who sought to drive them from their land. 

The group takes its name from the pre-state "HaShomer" (Guardians), which was founded to protect isolated kibbutzim and farms from marauding Bedouin gangs and Arab terrorists, and which eventually became the Hagana. HaShomer HaChadash was founded to supplement local law enforcement, which due to the isolation of many of the communities under attack had only been able to provide sporadic help at best.

MK Lipman said he saw the experience as Zionism in its purest form, and that the timing of the excursion could not have been more apt.

"It was powerful to connect to the land in this way right before Pesach, the holiday of the Spring. We are so focused on our day to day lives of earning a living and raising our children and can easily forget the integral connection which we should have to the actual land of Israel.  

"I encourage all English speaking immigrants to consider volunteering for HaShomer HaChadash with their children to tangibly reconnect to the land and help fellow Jews in the process." 

HaShomer HaChadash board member Jeff Schwartz outlined how the organization's objectives extend further than its immediate goals of protecting local agriculture.

"What begins in caring for the embattled rancher or farmer extends far beyond, to an emerging vision for Zionism reinvented and reinvigorated around ageless principles, and contemporary circumstance."