…and a story from 2016:
In 2016, the Arabs stole about 400 goats from the herd of Avraham Herzlich, leaving him with only four goats out of what was, for him, much more than a money-making business.
His son Shmuel told Arutz Sheva about the robbery, not the first one where Arabs have left his father without the herd he nurtured on the hills of Samaria (Shomron).
Shmuel says that he himself is the owner of another kind of business altogether, but at various times he is called to help his father take care of the herd. One of those times is the time of moving from one pasture to another, so a few weeks ago his father Avraham left the Tapuach area, where he lives, on a grazing trip in the Givat HaYekev (Winery Hill) region in Binyamin, the hill where the Migron expellees were sent.
And how do they sleep at night? Seems that Avraham Herzlich has no problem sleeping in the field. As a man of nature, he feels very good about sleeping under the stars, but nevertheless, Shmuel provided him with a small truck he could live in.
The day before the theft, Avraham Herzlich arrived in Migron, where he asked the winery owners if he could put his herd near the winery. The owners were at first concerned that the herd’s proximity would bring noise and dirt, but they agreed when they understood it was to be for one day only, just until he could set up the pen and fences some distance from the winery. Shmuel strung out some lights and the herd was left at a distance of just tens of meters from the winery.
“On Wednesday night, we undertook construction”, he says. On Thursday, he was a little busy and decided that on Friday he would finish the construction of the new pen – except that around 5 a.m. Friday morning, he got a call from his father that the herd had been stolen. “Every night he gets up at midnight to study. He checks that the herd is OK and comes back to study in the truck. This is what he did that night, when the dogs suddenly started barking. He went out, lit up his flashlight to check the herd, and when he didn’t see any problem, he went back in to study. He must have fallen asleep, and two hours later when he got up, he saw that there was no herd…”
The first phone call Shmuel made was to the regional security officer, Avigdor Shatz, who got there in about half an hour. Together they rushed to the place where they thought the herd was supposed to be loaded onto a truck. And in fact, there they discovered signs of a rendezvous between the herd and three or four trucks. Trackers confirmed these conclusions, but it looked like the trucks traveled north from the rendez-vous point on the outskirts of the village of Muhmas, towards Wadi Hermiya.
“The hard part about this whole thing is the Hilul Hashem (desecration of the name of G-d). The thefts are part of the fight for the land”, he says, and mentions that the Shin Bet has been sending out specific warnings about villages around Tapuah which have invited bands of professional rustlers to steal his father’s herd. The Herzlichs, for their part, beefed up security around the herd, but the thieves apparently waited until it was almost time to move the goats, when it would be easier for them to operate, and as soon as they could, they carried out the robbery.
Herzlich is convinced that this was a combination of lust for pillage and ideology. He emphasizes that almost all of the herds stolen were taken from Jews, with only a few incidents of thefts of Arab herds.
During pasture on Yom Kippur eve, Arabs managed to steal about 70 goats (valued at 75,000 shekels total) from veteran Kfar Tapuach shepherd Avraham Herzlich.
Despite the impending fast, dozens of volunteers were dispatched to the surrounding area and to as far as the Jordan Valley with various vehicles.
One volunteer involved in the search from its commencement told Arutz Sheva that they entered several villages in search of the stolen flock encountering hostilities, a smashed windshield, and at one point found themselves surrounded, narrowly escaping.
A helicopter was sent into the air and reported the suspect’s positions to the volunteers on the ground. At a certain point, a number of vehicles entered the Jamain quarries, and saw Arabs loading a goat on a vehicle.
“The thief suddenly saw us – 15 Jews in a bunch of jeeps inside the area – and went into shock. Just shock…shock,” one of the volunteers arriving on scene told the HaKol Hayehudi. “I’ll never forget the look on his face and those around him,” he said.
Additional forces were called in, and soon the posse noticed another group of goats gathered nearby, that turned out to be about ten more goats stolen from the flock.
After searching and gathering information it was ascertained that the rest of the flock had been taken deep into the Arab village and apparently loaded onto trucks by the thieves.
HaKol Hayehudi reports police officers who finally arrived at the scene questioned several suspects in the theft, including the suspect identified loading a goat on a vehicle, but all were subsequently released. Police said they intend to continue investigating the case. IDF forces were also called in to assist in the search.
After several hours of searching, at around 5:00 p.m., it was decided to terminate the search because of the impending fast.
“We found only ten goats, but the feeling was a return of the honor that’s trampled again and again, to see Jews who didn’t give up and went straight into villages where the foot of a Jew doesn’t tread, and have become safe havens for robbers and terrorists,” a volunteer told the HaKol Hayehudi.
“It was indeed the eve of the fast, but everything gets shoved to the side for a friend in distress and for the sake of a Jewish honor that is reclaimed only slowly and with great effort,” said the volunteer.