Some 200 vines and cherry trees belonging to Kibbutz Kfar Etzion were uprooted and cut down Saturday night, in an apparent Arab hate crime.
The fields, planted on KKL lands in an area called the Mukhtar’s Saddle, have been targeted and vandalized by Arabs in the past.
Yaron Rosenthal, a member of the kibbutz, responded “with pain” when the destruction was discovered Sunday morning.
“From the villainous Arabs of the nearby village of Beit Ummar I have no expectations,” he stated. “Only from ourselves…. For several years there has been a stubborn struggle here for every dunam and tree, and in the meantime, Kfar Etzion is alone at the front. Sad.”
Amitai Porat, secretary of the Religious Kibbutz Movement and a resident of Kfar Etzion, responded to the vandalism by stating that “the Jewish community in Gush Etzion is part of a long chain of Jewish presence in the region. Unfortunately, like other farmers, we sometimes suffer from agricultural terrorism. We are working with the relevant authorities and ministers so that they will join the battle with the understanding that the border will be determined on where the plow passes.”
The police announced Sunday that they had launched an investigation into the incident.
Arab vandalism of Israeli-owned agricultural endeavors is a common occurrence, and Israeli vineyards in Yehudah and Shomron have been repeatedly targeted by Arab sabotage.
Last month, Arab vandals destroyed dozens of vines at an Israeli-owned vineyard at Shiloh and in Chevron.
A few days before that, Arab vandals uprooted an Israeli-owned vineyard in the Jordan valley. A total of six incidents of vandalism occurred in the same area in the past two months.