the takeover of Gedera
the takeover of Gedera Regavim

Dozens of farmers from Gedera and the surrounding communities in central Israel met this week for an "emergency meeting" following a massive and ongoing trend of land purchases by Arabs.

Speakers at the conference included Alex Hefetz, CEO of Himnuta, Brenner Regional Council head Doron Shidlov, journalist Yoaz Hendel, the Commander of the Yavne Police Station, and Amichai Yogev, Director of the Regavim Movement in the South.

Over the last two years, a network of illegal groups has been established in the area by Arabs and Bedouins. These illegal activities were made possible by by the partial legal purchase of land, which continues with the aggressive takeover of nearby private lands belonging to Jewish farmers in the Gedera area, Rehovot, Tel Nof and nearby communities.

Amichai Yogev of the Regavim movement told the participants about the extent of the phenomenon, which was revealed by the hidden surveillance carried out by a front group on their behalf.

The survey revealed that a significant portion of these transactions were accompanied by tax evasion totaling thousands of shekels, and that the land was also illegally being used for non-agricultural use, including residential buildings, solar collectors for electricity, satellite dishes, pubs and even swimming pools.

"It can be said that this is a reverse Zionist movement," said journalist Yoaz Hendel, who gave a historical survey of the region. "It is legal in a democratic state, and the right to property is important, but it is impossible to escape the thought of the historical significance [of this move]. On the land of the pioneers, seventy years after the establishment of the state, the struggle for national land continues."

Himnuta CEO Alex Hafetz told the farmers that the chairman of the Jewish National Fund instructed the JNF staff to act through Himnuta to purchase land from farmers and land owners in the area.

"KKL-JNF will be part of this process and will harness various government bodies such as the Tax Authority, construction supervision, the Green Patrol, the Israel Lands Authority and any body that can help stop the phenomenon," Hefetz noted.