On July 4th, Tzviki Struk, a farmer in Israel’s Shiloh valley in Samaria was devastated to discover that sections of his vineyards had been vandalized by Arab terrorists.
Some 2,000 grapevines were violently hacked apart and thrown to the waysides by the terrorists who infiltrated Struk’s vineyard, likely on Friday night as Struk, his wife and their six children welcomed in Shabbat (Sabbath).
Aron Katsoff, a friend and neighbor of Struk’s commented that these types of attacks are becoming more commonplace. Katsoff estimates that a large-scale attack such as this occurs approximately every year to year and a half. These attacks are generally carried out by a pair of terrorists who infiltrate privately owned Jewish fields, cut through their fences and reap havoc on the land. It is likely that the same pair of terrorists is responsible for many, if not all, of the attacks.
Police forces trained in tracking footprints have traced many of these attacks back to the nearby Arab village of Qusra. Many of the Arab residents of Qusra are employed by Jewish farmers and know that Friday evening is an opportune time to attack a Jewish settlement as farmers are at home with their families and not tending to their fields.
While the government will provide some financial compensation to Struk, the amount he will receive will not come close to covering the costs of his loss. The government compensation fails to take into account the profit which Struk would have made from future years of crops and the wine which he would have produced and sold from those grapes. This type of terrorism has been referred to as ‘economic terrorism’ in which there is no loss of human life, yet the victims suffer significant economic damages. It is extremely difficult to calculate the magnitude of financial loss which Struk will experience as a result of this attack.
According to Leviticus 19:23, farmers must wait three years after planting trees to enjoy their fruit
“And when ye shall come into the land, and shall have planted all manner of trees for food, then ye shall count the fruit thereof as uncircumcised: three years shall it be as uncircumcised unto you: it shall not be eaten of.”
The grapes which were destroyed in this attack would have been Struk’s literal first taste of the fruits of his labor as the vines had just reached four years of age.
In response to the vicious attack, Rabbi Tuly Weisz, Founder of Israel365, shared, “It is so disturbing to hear about the ongoing terror attacks against the farmers and the Land of Israel.”
Struk moved to the Shiloh area some 15 years ago in pursuit of his dreams of establishing a vineyard in the hills of Samaria. He was endlessly criticized for his dream and was repeatedly told that the the hills of Samaria were an unsuitable geographic location to grow grapes. He was warned by multiple agriculturists that the tough bedrock of the Shiloh region is better suited for growing heavy and sturdy olive trees rather than delicate grape vines.
Despite all of the naysayers, Struk was determined to witness the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy of Jewish farmers successfully planting vineyards in the hills of the Shomron (Jeremiah 31:4)
“Again shalt thou plant vineyards upon the mountains of Shomron; the planters shall plant, and shall have the use thereof.”
Only years later did agricultural professionals catch up to Struk and the other farmers in the area. It is now believed that in fact, the tough bedrock of the Shiloh region is the best area in which to grow grapes. The grapevines must dig deep to ensure that their roots penetrate the bedrock and root themselves deep into the mineral rich ground producing some of the highest quality grapes in Israel.
In regards to planting grapevines in the hills of Shomron, Katsoff commented that “We are living the prophecy of Jeremiah. The people of Israel have returned to the Land. Now, we are being attacked by Palestinian terrorists who are trying to uproot us from our Land. The more they attack us, the stronger we will become. These attacks will not weaken us, they only fuel us to continue to cultivate our land.”
While Struk is dispirited about his emotional and financial losses, he is thankful that no human life was lost in the attack. Had he, or any of his Jewish workers been in the vineyards at the time of the infiltration, the results could have been catastrophic.
Katsoff and Struk will not be deterred from their Biblical mission of settling and cultivating the Land of Israel. Katsoff noted that both he and Struk will “gain strength from our supporters around the world who have offered to help us re-plant and to sew our roots deep into the ground.”
The two are turning to the international community of supporters of Israel for help in rebuilding that what has been so shamefully destroyed. “We call on Zionists around the world to show their support for Israel and work with the Israel365 Charity Fund to repair the damage that has been caused to Tzviki Struk’s vineyards. We urge the rest of the word to condemn such cowardly attacks and together to continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and Israel,” Rabbi Weisz said.
The Israel365 Charity Fund is working hand-in-hand with Struk in helping him restore his vineyards. If you would like to partner with us and support this important cause, please find more information here.