Honey Producers Threaten Vigilante Action Against Thieves
By Gil Ronen
Israeli honey producers, assisted by IDF and Border Guard forces,
raided the area of Shweikeh in Samaria early Tuesday, and recovered
some 100 stolen beehives.
Honey producers are furious at what they term the "anarchy" that
enables Arabs from Judea and Samaria to steal Jewish honey with
impunity, and at the sharp rise in such thefts in the past two months.
The Jewish honey producers are threatening to take the law into their
own hands, and have made this message clear to their Arab counterparts
in Judea and Samaria.
Shimshon Erlinger, Deputy General Manager of Israel's Honey Council,
says that 900 beehives were stolen from Israel by PA Arabs in the past
two months alone, as compared with 1,500 stolen beehives in all of
2006. Most of the thefts are from the Sharon and Emek Hefer areas, and
are usually carried out with the help of Israeli- Arabs, who use
sealed trucks with Israeli license plates to ferry the contraband into
Erlinger says there are "massive orders" in the PA for stolen Israeli
honey, and that Arab honey producers' ineptness causes many of their
hives to collapse. "The easiest solution is to plunder the Jews," he
told IsraelNationalNews Tuesday.
"The state of Israel has abandoned us," says Erlinger. "When they do
catch a thief, they release him in less time than it took you to file
the complaint. In the end he gets a plea bargain, pays a small fine,
and goes off happily to steal again. The producer, however, has been
"From now on we will not be tzadikim (saints)," says Erlinger. "We
have decided that when we go on raids we will not only return the
hives that are clearly marked as Israeli, but also the ones that have
had the identifying marks removed. Let them chase us instead of us
Erlinger is quick to point out a connection to the case of Shai Dromi,
the farmer who shot Bedouin thieves - killing one of them - who
poisoned his dog and attempted to steal sheep. "Whoever thinks Shai
Dromi is an exceptional case doesn't know where he is living," he
says. "If the state doesn't wake up and defend its citizens, the
citizens will take the law into their own hands. Shai Dromi is a
spark, and if this doesn't light the spotlight on the issue what comes
later could be anarchy."
Erlinger says he met with an Arab honey producer from the Jericho area
and told him, "If we are unable to grow bees, neither will you. We
will make your lives miserable. Just as we can't sleep at nights, you
won't sleep at nights."