Jewish farmers in Judea and Samaria are tired of looking for help that does not come in fighting an Arab crime wave. Now many of them are taking security into their own hands with Hashomer Yosh, a new civilian security group.
The group joins Hashomer movements started by Jewish farmers in the Galilee and Negev more than four years ago. Like the new group, the older Hashomer branches were created by farmers tired of what they termed a weak police response to rampant Arab and Bedouin crime.
More than 1,000 cattle, sheep and goats were stolen from Jewish farmers in Judea and Samaria over the past two months alone. Agricultural theft caused millions of shekels in damage.
The stolen livestock are taken to Palestinian Authority-controlled areas where the Israel Police do not have the power to act, leaving Israeli farmers with no way of retrieving their animals.
“Beyond the economic damage, we realize that the Arabs are using these thefts to do damage to the development of Jewish agriculture in Judea and Samaria,” said Shmuel Herzlich, whose father Avraham recently lost a huge herd to PA thieves.
Hashomer Yosh volunteers will assist farmers in setting up a rotation of guards to watch over their flocks. Former elite IDF soldiers will play a special part by helping farmers figure out how best to protect their herds by identifying weak points in security and possible entrance points and escape routes for thieves.
“By giving a few hours each month, the volunteers will help ranchers continue to guard the land,” Herzlich said.