Avi Naim
Avi NaimHezky Ezra

A Jewish farmer, 64, from Moshav Beit Elazri, killed one of three Arabs trying to steal his truck early Sunday morning. He was questioned for several hours by police and then released to house arrest. He said he awoke to a noise in his yard, and saw three men trying to break into his truck. He went out with his gun and fired in the air after they approached him and threatened him with a metal bar. He added that he was not aware of having hit any of them with his shots. The body was in fact found in a field nearby, and not on his property.

Moshav Beit Elazri, near Gedera and Rehovot, is one of the largest moshavim in Israel. It numbers 120 agricultural families and 280 other families.

"The wantonness of the thieves, most of whom are from the Arab sector, must end," writes Avi Naim, Mayor of Beit Aryeh and Security Committee Chairman of the Local Authorities. "The way to do this is by preventative and deterrent measures such as granting authority to shoot."

"Hundreds of these criminal acts, some of which have a nationalistic motive, are done with brazenness, sometimes during daylight hours, without fear. We must declare war against them, using practical measures including shooting by the farm-owners."

Naim says that farmers in Israel have it hard from many standpoints, "and especially economically." The farmers "have a major role in redeeming the Land, and we have an obligation to help them subsist with dignity."

"We all remember the sad incident in Moshav Avichayil in which Itzik Algabi of blessed memory was murdered in his home by Palestinian robbers," Naim adds. "And we all remember other incidents that started out as criminal cases but ended as nationalist-terrorist murders."

"Sunday's shooting in Beit Elazri was justified," Naim concludes. "It was an act of self-defense, and prevented innocent people from getting hurt. Every thief must know that he might die. It must be anchored in law, just as in the cradle of democracy, the United States, where every citizen has the right to self-defense of his body and his property, including the shooting of trespassers."