Ex-Israeli soldier trains SA farmers to defend themselves

2018-06-04 19:22
Idan Abolnik (Supplied, www.kalahia.com)

Idan Abolnik (Supplied, www.kalahia.com)

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News24 found guilty by Press Ombudsman after farm attacks report

News24 was reprimanded by the South African Press Ombudsman for suggesting in the report below, published on June 4, 2018, that South African farmers believed they were under attack "because of" an "intense campaign by conservative and right-wing groups such as AfriForum and Die Suidlanders" – while minimising the very real danger such attacks posed to both farmers and farmworkers (even though that most probably was not the journalist's intention). 

The Press Ombudsman found that the statement that South African farmers believed they were under attack "because of" an intense campaign by conservative and right-wing groups such as AfriForum and Die Suidlanders was in breach of Section 1.2 of the Press Code that states: "News shall be presented in … a balanced manner, without any intentional or negligent departure from the facts whether by distortion, exaggeration or misrepresentation…".

Another part of the complaint about the increase/decrease of farm attack statistics was dismissed. 

Visit www.presscouncil.org.za for the full finding. 

Here is the original story: 

A former Israeli special forces soldier has been offering special close combat and hand-to-hand training for South African farmers – and he says business is doing well.

Idan Abolnik has developed his own style of Krav Maga, a self-defence system developed for the Israel Defence Forces. He has been using it to train people for 15 years.

Abolnik's system, called the "Kalah combat system", has become popular with South African farmers, who, because of an intense campaign by conservative and right-wing groups such as AfriForum and Die Suidlanders, believe they are under attack.

He said his system teaches a variety of self-defence techniques. He has a special package developed for farmers.

"It's open to everyone and anyone who wants a specially designed system for farmers. We train them to deal with a variety of different attacks," Abolnik said.

"We teach them hand-to-hand combat, bush warfare, semi-bush warfare, urban warfare and how to collect information."

Abolnik said training also involves the simulation of a range of weapon attacks to prepare those who attend his course to defend themselves, their families and their properties.

Decrease in farm attacks

It costs about R20 000 per person for an intensive two-week course. The trainees live on or near the locations where the training takes place in and around Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Abolnik said he had seen growing interest in his courses designed for farmers as well as those for general self-defence.

Last week, News24 reported that farm attacks and farm murders were not nearly as widespread as some groups would make it appear.

READ: Farm murders lowest in 20 years, 'remoteness' the reason for brutality

AgriSA released a report last week which showed attacks were nowhere near the record high seen in 2001/2002, when 1 069 farm attacks were recorded. Farm attacks increased from 478 in 2016/2017 to 561 in 2017/2018.

According to AgriSA's statistics, farm murders decreased from 66 recorded incidents in 2016/2017 to 47 in 2017/2018. This was less than a third of the record highs of the late 1990s. In 1997/1998 153 murders were recorded.

However, AfriForum called the figures into question, with the organisation's head of community safety Ian Cameron quoted on the group's website saying its statistics showed an increase in attacks.

AfriForum said it would be releasing its own statistics at the end of July.


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