An 80-year-old rabbi is amongst five Israeli activists who were been severely beaten by far-right colonial settlers in Israel, all while merely attempting to defend Palestinian farmers from their attacks.
The 30-strong terror mob laid into the group of human rights activists at the West Bank village of Burin, attacking them with crowbars and leaving several needing hospital treatment. Amongst the injured was the 80-year-old Rabbi Moshe Yehudai who suffered severe head injuries and a broken arm.
Rabbi Yehudai is a member of Rabbis for Human Rights, a worldwide group of Rabbis and supporters who engage in human rights activism in the West Bank. The group is particularly noted for their protests against the terrorist violence of Israeli settlers and for foreign volunteers accompanying Palestinians under threat of settler intimidation and violence.
Yehudai is said to have feared for his life as he was beaten about the head, arm and shoulders with the metal bars during the mob invasion of an olive grove, with 30 extremists descending on the grove as farmers carried out the harvest, advancing from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar.
So bad is the reputation of Yitzhar that the Israeli security services have identified the settlement as a “hotbed of extremism”.
“Suddenly, the settlers came with their faces [covered]. They started running at us, they surrounded me, threw rocks at me, hit me with crowbars, giving me a head injury. I told them I’m 80 years old. Leave me alone.”Rabbi Moshe Yehudai
Amongst others injured in the attack, four were visiting from the US, UK and other European countries. Beyond the physical assaults, one of the settlers ignited a bushfire before their retreat to Yitzhar, the resulting flames engulfing hundreds of olive trees with some said to have been hundreds of years old.
The latest incident comes during the annual olive harvest, a frequent source of terror attacks by far-right settlers looking to intimidate and terrorise Palestinians into leaving their land. With over 100,000 Palestinian families relying on the industry, the attacks are insidiously well planned and have a clear motive.
The violent attacks frequently go unpunished as the area is under Israeli military occupation and the military having no jurisdiction to arrest Israeli settlers for criminal acts. Perversely, they have full authority to act against Palestinians.
An IDF spokeswoman said they were looking into the incident.