Pictures courtesy of Y. Kirshberg
About 150 grape trees were uprooted in an orchard adjacent to Tomer, in the Beka’ah valley near the Jordan river. “Farmers in the Beka’ah are facing a very real wave of terror attacks”. The orchard’s owner, Yossi Kirshberg, explained that the damages were valued at approximately 15,000 shekels per year, until the trees would regenerate and bear fruit again.“One of my workers arrived this morning and was horrified when he saw the tremendous damage wreaked on the orchard. I arrived shortly thereafter and was stunned. The way I see it, this is absolutely a nationalistic hate crime,” Kirshberg explained.
Kirshberg acts as his community’s local coordinator with the army, and is convinced that this is the reason why his field was targeted. “They chose to hurt me because they know that I represent the community to the army and the security forces.”
This isn’t the first occasion that Arab hoodlums have deliberately attacked Jewish property in the Beka’ah valley region. In the last year alone, local authorities have had to deal with multiple similar incidents, in which property and farmers themselves were hurt.
Frequently, the damage caused has caused long-term financial distress as expensive farming machinery and vehicles costing many thousands of dollars are ruined, and great swathes of land are rendered useless until the plants heal or new ones replace the old ones, a process which sometimes takes years.
“The last year has been very challenging for our farmers”, said David Elhayani, head of the Beka’ah regional council. “We’ve come under repeated attacks, and these horrific acts of vandalism are done in the name of some spiteful nationalistic cause, with the chief aim harming Jewish communities in the Beka’ah, and also all over Israel.”