Gilad Farms
Gilad Farms (Gilad Farms archives)

In early August, a large fire engulfed a grain silo in the northern farming village of Yesod Hama'ala. The arson caused over NIS 10 million in damage, and devastated the small town which bases its economy on agriculture.

Farmers have been watching a recent uptick of theft and arson with alarm, and contend that the damage is being infliicted by Arabs acting out of nationalistic motives. They demand to be awarded the compensation that the government gives terror victims, and will hold a special hearing Thursday to deal with the question, under the auspices of the Agricultural Lobby head MK Eitan Broshi (Zionist Union), and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home.)

"Agricultural terrorism is both a security and strategic danger," said Broshi, who previously headed the farming-based United Kibbutz Movement. "It threatens the very existence of agriculture, and causes people to leave farming altogether, leading to the abandonment of land."

"Farmers should be receiving compensation, and protection from the state," continued Broshi. "The current situation cannot be allowed continue and we need to restore security to Israels rural areas."

Nachum Shwartz concurs. A resident of the former Amona village, his sheep were routinely stolen by Arab gangs. He accuses the state of turning a blind eye to what he considers an obvious case of agricultural terrorism against Jews.

"They caused me losses of over NIS 150,000," he told Arutz Sheva. "The police should be collecting intelligence on these gangs, or at least make some sort of effort [to help]. Instead, they do nothing. "

Police announced Wednesday that the investigation they had opened against an 82 year old farmer and Holocaust survivor from Moshav Bet Yitzchak was closed. The elderly farmer shot two Palestinian thieves who broke into his house in July.