American cowboys to the rescue of Israeli farmers

Christian Zionist group from Montana flies to Israel to work in the fields of Judea and Samaria, ‘to help the Jewish people any way we can.’

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A group of Montana cowboys came to Israel Monday to help farmers who need to get their crops harvested but have no workers as their foreign hands have fled the country and the Jewish employees have been called to reserve duty.

John Plocher and Ezekiel ‘Zeke’ Strain, wearing the typical cowboy headgear, represented their colleagues in an interview Tuesday with Israel’s Channel 14, and discussed what they’re doing and why they came.

“We love the Jewish people and we support ‘em,” said Plocher.

Their group was actually scheduled to come for a visit in about a month, he noted, but moved up the trip when Israel declared war on Hamas after its terrorist forces invaded Israel October 7 and massacred 1,400 people, the vast majority of them civilians, including babies and the elderly.

“When Hamas attacked, we got a call saying that [the farmers] needed help bad, so we ended up coming … early,” he explained. “We’re just here to help the Jewish people any way we can.”

They are currently working “in Judea and Samaria,” Plocher said, working with the HaYovel organization.

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According to its website, HaYovel is a faith-based group that sends volunteers to Israel specifically to help plant trees, harvest grapes and tour the country. Its goal is “to serve the land and people, enabling them to connect to the land of their faith, restore Christian Jewish relations, and confirm Israel’s right to their ancestral homeland.”

The pair have done this before, they said, as it is Plocher’s third visit and Strain’s fourth to Israel.

Their first mission, however, was not agriculturally oriented.

“We’re out here delivering supplies to the communities, things like bulletproof vests, night-vision goggles, flashlights, and all sorts of stuff like that,” Plocher said.

They are now helping the farmers in the region with “miscellaneous tasks,” since “all the young men are off to war…and there’s a huge need for labor here. We’re picking up wherever we can,” he said.

When asked how people there are reacting to the arrival of “the cowboys from America,” Plocher answered that the news of their coming has gone viral “for who knows what reason,” he shrugged, “and everyone who sees us stopping on the road wants a photograph or to know why we’re here. It’s kind of interesting,” he said with a small laugh.

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“But everyone, you guys are welcoming us with love, it’s very humbling.”

The interviewer herself expressed gratitude to the two men, saying, “We’re so grateful for you coming here and supporting Israel, thank you so much.”

Farmers all over the country are begging for help in harvesting fruits and vegetables of all kinds, from tomatoes to strawberries to zucchini and more.

Many say they will pay for the labor, and Israelis are trying to answer the call.

High schools have brought full classes to the fields, ad-hoc adult groups go from cities around the country for a day, and even some ultra-Orthodox men have been sent out of their halls of learning by their religious leaders to lend a hand.