Can you keep strategic ranch from becoming Arab?

Israel Land Fund sounds alarm as Arab buyers, likely funded by Saudis, try to take key Negev property from Jewish hands to control region.

Ari Yashar ,

Negev ranch being eyed by Arabs
Negev ranch being eyed by Arabs
Israel Land Fund

Israel Land Fund (ILF), an NGO working to advance Jewish land rights in Israel, revealed to Arutz Sheva on Thursday that it has learned of a ranch in the Negev that is in imminent danger of being sold to Arab investors, thereby weakening the Jewish hold on the region.

The site is a large equestrian ranch and tourist facility, that sits on 6.5 dunams (over 1.5 acres) and is located near the southern city of Arad. It includes full equestrian facilities, a private residence, workers quarters, dining and event facilities, a merchandising area, and a parking lot in addition to other facilities.

The property's owners are elderly and can no longer maintain the ranch, but so far only Arab buyers have made offers for the facility, which is listed at 4.5 million shekels ($1.2 million).

While the owners would be willing to lower the price so as to keep their property in Jewish hands, so far no Jewish buyer has emerged.

ILF is calling on anyone who is interested, or knows those who might be interested, in saving the ranch from leaving Jewish ownership to contact them immediately.

"A battle is being waged for control of the Negev, no less than in Jerusalem and other high profile areas," said Arieh King, founder and director of ILF and a member of the Jerusalem City Council.

"Just as we know that money from the Arab Gulf states has been pouring into the Galilee and Jerusalem for years, the same is going on in the south," he explained.

"Sources close to the owners of the ranch indicate that Saudi Arabian money is likely involved in this case as well. The ILF has been sounding the alarm on this 'silent war' since the day our organization was founded."

Describing the property, King said, "we have to be very careful about giving out details on the property's location and exactly why it is so strategic, but I can tell you that it was built in 1965 and there is not another Jewish owned property like this in the entire area. It is located on a major travel artery in the south and losing it would have negative consequences for generations to come."

"David Ben Gurion famously said 'the future of Israel lies in the Negev,'" concluded King, quoting Israel's first prime minister. "Today that vision is in jeopardy, and the clock is ticking on yet another piece of Israel's future."

The Negev ranch Israel Land Fund