Beduin pelt Retamim residents with stones

Residents of Kibbutz Retamim in the Negev demonstrate, saying a red line has been crossed.

CAR TIRES set alight by masked Beduin burn on Negev highway  (photo credit: Courtesy MK Ayelet Shaked’s office)
CAR TIRES set alight by masked Beduin burn on Negev highway
(photo credit: Courtesy MK Ayelet Shaked’s office)
Masked Beduin men blocked the road to Kibbutz Retamim in the Negev, throwing stones at residents’ cars on Sunday afternoon.
Following a complaint from a Retamim woman, who managed to drive around the makeshift roadblocks while the masked men on all-terrain vehicles threw stones at her car, which also contained her three children, without getting hurt, Negev Police sent a special force to the road, in the Ramat Hanegev region.
Police identified the attackers as residents of the nearby village of Bir Hadaj.
While police said the area was under control, residents of Retamim demonstrated on the access road to the kibbutz on Monday night, saying a red line had been crossed.
The rock-throwing incident came weeks after a man from Bir Hadaj on an all-terrain vehicle blocked the road to Retamim, and when a car containing a pregnant woman and her husband last Tuesday slowed down, another Beduin man approached them and hit their car with a metal pipe.
“For the past eight months, the residents of Retamim find themselves in an impossible situation in which a small group from Bir Hadaj burns tires, throws rocks and harasses residents of our town,” Retamim council member Itzik Tzur said.
Tzur added that the police in the area need more backup.
“The residents of Retamim came to be Zionists in the Negev. We don’t need to find ourselves threatened by an extremist minority from a village on the road to our town,” he said.
Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked took it upon herself to publicize the rock-throwing incident on Sunday, after police sent out a one-line message.
“The residents of Retamim and Bir Hadaj do not have a conflict about the allocation of land or anything like that, and there is no reason for the never-ending riots,” Shaked said.
She called for law and order to be restored to the Negev before the government approved a final plan to arrange the status of Beduin villages.