Arson (file)
Arson (file)Flash 90

Disaster was narrowly averted twice on the Sabbath as Jews in Yitzhar prevented Palestinian Authority Arabs from destroying their community with fire. Some grazing land was set alight, but homes in the area were saved.

The attacks mark the beginning of the annual PA “arson season,” residents told Arutz Sheva.

Attacks are often timed to take place on the Sabbath, when women and children are often at home while their husbands and fathers are in synagogue. The first attack this Sabbath began just minutes after the Sabbath had started on Friday evening.

Three men from the PA village of Kfar Einabus south of Yitzhar made their way to the outskirts of a vineyard near the Tekuma neighborhood and attempted to set it alight. Fortunately, two men from the neighborhood spotted the attackers and gave chase while calling for IDF backup.

The three would-be arsonists fled the two Israeli men and managed to return to their town. IDF soldiers arrived and began searching, but failed to find them.

The next day terrorists came much closer to realizing their goal. At roughly six in the evening local PA Arabs set fire to grazing land near the Shalhevet neighborhood. The fire was spotted and put out by IDF troops moments before it would have destroyed a farm owned by the Cohen family, a family that was forced out of Yitzhar by an administrative order 10 months ago.

Three years ago a PA terrorist managed to burn down a home in the Shalhevet neighborhood and to stab young Tuvia Shtetman, a child living in the area. Tuvia managed to fight off the terrorist, but suffered moderate wounds.

Subsequent arson attacks have caused hundreds of thousands of shekels of damage. Police suspect that residents of Yitzhar have carried out “price tag” attacks in which they retaliated in kind for PA arson and vandalism, but law enforcement officials have had very little success in proving these charges.

Al Qaeda recently called on its followers to emulate PA attacks by targeting Americans with arson.