Agricultural terror rages: Where is the government?

Head of Israel Farmers Association laments failure to act after repeated acts of vandalism against agricultural equipment and land in north.

Shimon Cohen,

Farmers protest in Jerusalem
Farmers protest in Jerusalem
Eliran Aharon

Agricultural terrorism reached the fields of Kibbutz Mizra in the Jezreel Valley on Sunday night, when dozens of drums for laying irrigation pipes that were supposed to be spread over 300 dunams of sunflower fields were torched.

The damage is estimated at NIS 200,000 ($56,580), and this incident is not the first. The chairman of the Galilee Development Company notes that before the Passover holiday, agricultural tools were burned in the Galilee, causing damage estimated at NIS 2 million ($565,800).

In an interview with Arutz Sheva, the secretary-general of the Israel Farmers' Association, Avshalom (Abu) Vilan, casts responsibility for the destruction on the government, which he says does not take necessary steps to halt the phenomenon. "When you see a sequence of sabotage and destruction - and the reasons are unclear - terror, vandalism, protection - there is no choice but to set up a task force to deal with the matter, but unfortunately this is not the top priority of the government and the police."

"But here there are no instructions from the Public Security Minister, the Agriculture Minister, and the Finance Ministry to set up a task force," he said. "This is just idleness."

Vilan reiterated that he does not deal with the causes and motives of these acts of vandalism, but rather with the results, which require the establishment of a task force to be composed by the relevant government ministries. However, the agricultural community counts for no more than eight percent of the Israeli public, meaning that it does not exceed 10 Knesset seats, and it is not politically expedient to deal with the problems facing that community. "Everyone is directed to his base, as is the prime minister and the heads of the parties."

And perhaps, we asked, when he himself does not explicitly state that terrorism is involved and argues that the reasons for the crimes do not matter, he too helps to whitewash the problem.

Vilan replied: "If this was pure terror, it is more serious, because it is capable of harming human life, and it is a combination of several things together. The main reason that the police do not wake up is that no task has been assigned to the police. If a mission was to be assigned, resources and forces were placed. There must be a systemic treatment [for the problem]."

"It is clear to me that there are more serious threats to the state, but it should be said that agriculture is not protected, and the insurance companies are no longer willing to insure packing houses, etc. The Finance Ministry has not solved this yet."




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