Sunday, July 5, 2009

Oppressed Majority

Mike Packer

My post this week is a change from my usual efforts in explaining and trying to find a meaning to the Arab/Israel conflict. Today I wish to address a civil problem that is plaguing certain areas of my country.

It is the problem of agricultural theft perpetrated, in most cases, by the Arab citizens of Israel. I would like to start by narrating to you, dear reader, two anecdotes as a background.

. The first one is personal and occurred when I was the security coordinator on the kibbutz that I live on. The security coordinator on our kibbutzim is, in comparison to small towns in rural America, the local sheriff and in accordance with the job is a member of the Border Police which is a branch of the regular Police force. The job is not full time as the incidence of crime perpetrated by kibbutz members on kibbutzim is virtually nil (zero cases in the seven years that I served) so my duties were limited to nightly patrols in the immediate area in a Police jeep accompanied by uniformed volunteers.

The area I live in is called the Jezreel Valley and is considered to be the bread basket of Israel. Apart from the usual field crops we have a large area of aquaculture where the kibbutzim in the area raise fish in intensive ponds for market.

On one particular night around 1 a.m we were surprised to see a van leaving through a gate surrounding one of the ponds in the area, finding this suspicious we gave chase in our jeep with lights flashing and sirens wailing. It took about ten minutes for the vehicle we were chasing to eventually come to a halt and in the course of the chase we could see equipment being thrown out of the windows of the van. On stopping we approached the vehicle in a calm fashion and asked the driver to open the rear of the van. He refused but we insisted that it was our right to inspect his vehicle and it would be worth his while to accommodate us. He eventually relented and walked around to the back of the vehicle, opened the door and removed a wheel wrench from a cargo pocket on the side and turned to attack me with it. A punch to the nose persuaded him to desist and he was duly arrested with his companions.

As an aside I would like to mention that the price of fish on the market in Israel (depending on the fish) for St. Peters fish, which is a local delicacy and one of the cheaper fish, is about NIS20 per kilo (about 5 bucks). The ponds can hold at harvest time about three to five tons of fish depending on the size of the pond. So the average heist in one nights work for a crew of 3 to 4 perpetrators could be in the region of a ton of fish. Not a bad nights work with a profit of 10-15000 shekels.

After arresting the suspects we walked back along the road and picked up the equipment that was strewn along the road shoulders. This was an assortment of catch nets and rubber boots which we loaded back into the truck and proceeded to accompany our suspects to the local Police station for booking.

Entering the Police station I (as arresting officer) approached the desk sergeant to make my report when the leader of the suspects started shouting at me that my life was now worthless and proceeded to threaten my death. He was immediately locked into one of the cells and the desk sergeant added the threat to the report.

The next day I was called to the regional commanders office and informed that my suspects had been released by the courts with the excuse that there was a "lack of public interest" in the case. I was surprised and asked about the threat to my life, a felony crime in Israel as I was a Policeman. He told me the judge threw it out of court because of "Police brutality" after I had struck the suspect with the wheel wrench in self defense. Needless to say I resigned from the force.

The perpetrators went on to a long life of arrests and releases. They were Arabs who lived in the area.

The second anecdote happened in one of our neighboring settlements that raises goats for milk and meat. This settlement has an Arab village neighboring it with which they have cordial relations accept for one small thing, theft of goats. The Arabs were partial to goats and over the years the losses to the Jewish community mounted up. Complaints to the Police were to no avail nobody was ever caught.

One night two members of the Jewish community were out late for one reason or another and on their way back to their homes they caught two Arab youths red handed with a couple of goats each. The two perpetrators were apprehended and knowing that Police intervention would again be to no avail the Jewish settlement members took the law into their own hands, stripped the youths naked, sprayed them with red paint and sent them home.

The families of the Arab youths complained to the Police and the courts handed down an 18 month sentence to the two Jewish goat owners.

Now, Dear Reader, you ask WTF has all this got to do with a political blog?

Well, its like this; On June 18 edition of the Hebrew weekly B'sheva published an article in which was the following:

"It is hard to imagine a lynching in Israel’s pastoral, sun drenched south - the Negev - but sheep grower Oz Davidian is alive only because he was able to break away for a few seconds from the Bedouin marauders who attacked him on his own property in broad daylight. He managed to dial the emergency hot line, causing his attackers to flee, not before they told him: “You will leave this place dead or alive. We will destroy your livelihood until you run away”. Davidian needed stitches and surgical care. The Bedouins who tried to murder him are out of jail until the case comes to court.

Two weeks ago, Davidian woke up to discover that all his sheep had disappeared. Israel’s Border Police used scouts to find where the thieves, local Bedouins, had hidden them. The 30-40 complaints he has filed in the Ofakim police station over the last two years have had no deterring effect as the police simply interrogated and then released the offenders."

The sad thing is that because of catastrophic losses and understaffed law enforcement offices a few of the Jewish farmers have given up on their land and let the Arabs take over.

Fortunately there are a few Zionists left out there who care about their country and are willing to do something about it. My grandfather who came to Palestine in 1906 and settled in the lower Galilee joined a group called "HaShomer" (The Guardian) that patrolled the area they lived in on horseback and defended their flocks from Arab marauders. Two years ago a young Israeli combat officer resurrected The Guardian unit and is doing the same thing. in their daily newsletter of July 1st published an article called "Defending Zionist Farmers: The 'Jewish Guards' Rise Again" by Chagit Rotenberg in which they wrote;

Yoel Silberman, a combat officer, took an extended leave from the IDF to found the “New Guardians” group. He realized that his family, third generation farmers from Tzippori in the Galilee, were going to lose their livelihood if he didn’t take action to guard their property. During the three-year period prior to Yoel’s initiative, his father filed over 250 complaints against Arabs who cut his fences, caused tens of thousands of shekels worth of damage and threatened his life. Most of the police files were closed as being of “insufficient interest to the public.”

“One day we took our flocks out to graze on our land north of the (Jewish) Galilee town of Hoshaya”, he recalls, “and found that Arab flocks had broken in. We got them out, but four Israeli Arabs from the nearby village arrived and began punching us and throwing rocks. They called my father to tell him that they intend to kill me. Border Police were there, but they and their vehicle were attacked as well. The next time they cut our fence, my father went to the police while we held up their flocks. Arabs followed him into Hoshaya, beat him and stole his car right in front of the town’s offices. They were freed after several days in jail."

All these incidents would have had different consequences if our judicial system was not so one-sided. We have become a nation of "goody two-shoes" because we have been brain washed into considering the Arabs as an oppressed" minority in Israel. Unfortunately the opposite is true we have an oppressed majority. The judicial system in Israel has been abducted by Amnesty International and by the ethics of retired Supreme Court President Aharon Barak. I won't go into the details but recommend, Dear Reader, that you read Caroline Glick's article "Israel's Democratic Challenge" found on her blog site at

The Arab population in Israel has, in recent years, become totally unafraid of the Law of the Land. The Police are reluctant to enter Arab villages in fear of reprisals from the local population leaving the Jewish citizens of Israel to either give up or take the law into their own hands. Hence the resurrection of the "HaShomer" group. It is because of the years of left wing governments that have tried to appease the Arabs that has brought the Arab population to believe that they are above the law.

The same goes for our foreign policy vis-a-vis the "Palestinians".

But, hopefully, all is not lost, and with the courage of the likes of Yoel Silberman and his religious zionists volunteers we might be able to reclaim our country. The right thing to do will be to reorganize the Supreme Court and make it a court for the people of the Jewish State..
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