- USIEA Team
Law & Order
Updated: Oct 31, 2022
Israel Update - Week of October 2, 2022
Law & Order Part 1: Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. More than half of Israel spends the day fasting in contrition and introspection. Yom Kippur is a day of forgiveness and renewal. At 1:30am on Yom Kippur, an alarm went off that a fire had broken out at “Meshek Dor,” the farm of the Dor family, situated in the town of Shadmot Mechola, in the Jordan Valley, in the northeast corner of Samaria. The Dor (formerly Dorlicher) family are distant relatives – my aunt’s brother-in-law is a Dorlicher.
“Meshek Dor” delivers fruit and vegetables to thousands of customers around the country, including my family. When the fire was discovered, it was out of control. It gutted warehouses, packaging and storage facilities, tools and equipment, reducing the entire farm to charred rubble. All of the produce that was waiting to be packaged inside the factory was burnt. Everything the family had built over more than a decade had been destroyed. All that the firefighters could do was contain the fire so that it would not spread to nearby buildings and greenhouses. Fortunately, no lives were lost in the blaze. Damage was estimated at more than ten million shekels (about 3 million dollars).
It took only a few hours to unequivocally determine that the fire was deliberately started. Security cameras recorded two masked men setting fire to the farm. Bedouin trackers quickly traced the arsonists to the nearby Palestinian village of Ein al Beidah. David Alhiani, head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, called on the security forces and the government “to deal seriously and truthfully with the phenomenon of agricultural terrorism that we are experiencing here from our neighbors. This time it ended up with loss of property worth millions, but unfortunately, we won’t be surprised if one morning we wake up to an event that may also cost human lives.”
The level of violence in Judea and Samaria has risen considerably in the past few weeks, with daily shootings and car rammings. Two soldiers have been killed by Palestinian gunmen. The Israeli Army (IDF) is preparing for a third “intifadeh”, or “popular uprising”. The IDF is increasing patrols on roads and in Jewish towns and is entering large Palestinian towns to arrest terrorists and their abettors. Nevertheless, according to sources close to the investigation, the IDF knows the identity of the arsonists who torched “Meshek Dor.” However, they will not enter Ein al Beidah in order to arrest them. The IDF will only enter a Palestinian town to arrest a suspected terrorist if he is suspected of murder or of attempted murder. Destroying a family’s livelihood is insufficient cause to send in soldiers, lest the arrest lead to Palestinian rioting. The Israeli people are not letting “Meshek Dor” stand alone.
The day after Yom Kippur, a truck pulled up to our driveway. It was our last delivery from
“Meshek Dor.” Fortunately, our order had been transferred to shippers before Yom Kippur. I guess you could say we lucked out.
Law & Order Part 2: I live in Moreshet, a small town in the Western Galilee. Moreshet is
surrounded by Arab towns. This is not surprising considering that other than the city of Karmiel, the Galilee is more than 80% Arab. A few evenings ago at about 10:00 pm, a wedding took place in one of the neighboring Arab towns called Ibillin, just a few miles down the road. I know this because the music was so blaring loud, it sounded as if it was coming from right outside my window. This kind of thing happens every so often. Arab weddings are typically boisterous and usually accompanied by loud music and gunfire – wedding guests often fire in the air as a sign of joy. But this time the noise was especially ear-splitting. More than twenty people from our town called the police and complained about the noise. The police responded that they were sending a squad car and that they would take care of the problem. Nevertheless, the noise continued unabated until long past midnight. The police never did send a squad car to Ibillin. This, too, is not surprising: The police are extremely hesitant to enter Arab towns because the safety of the police officers cannot be guaranteed. Needless to say that if the noise – or gunfire – had been coming from a Jewish town, the police would have fined the offenders for disturbing the peace.
The common denominator between the two above stories is the willingness of Israeli authorities to implement law and order only in certain parts of the country. Make no mistake – Israel is a law-abiding country, in most places. But there are areas under Israeli control that are de facto exempt from the law. In these towns, law enforcement officials –the police and/or the army – take a laissez-faire attitude. Their hypothesis is that the results of enforcing the law are potentially worse than not enforcing the law.
Next week, Israelis will, for the fifth time in three years, vote for a new government. There are a multitude of issues that the politicians are arguing over: Iranian nuclear capability, Hezbollah presence in Syria, and potentially providing weapons to Ukraine. But even with all that is going on over the fence, it is still more than worthwhile to ensure things are in order in our own backyard.
Wishing you a quiet week,