GPS Nightmare In IsraelThis
(excerpts below) is why I do not rent cars in Israel, and will continue not to do so even with the availability of GPS.
It is comforting that two Arabs ultimately saved this man's life from a lynch mob of fellow Arabs. But only a small comfort, considering that every day, Arabs can and do drive and walk around freely in Israel without being bothered at all, let alone lynched.
For 28-year-old Bat Yam resident Amir Ochana flawed GPS navigation nearly
proved fatal. Instead of a planned return trip to Jerusalem, Ochana’s GPS system
directed him towards the West Bank City of Ramallah. Ochana had just finished
work in the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood of Jerusalem, and wanted to give his
secretary a ride home to the Adam settlement northeast of Jerusalem. He plugged
in the coordinates for a return trip to Jerusalem into his GPS system and set of
on his merry way.
The Bat Yam resident recounts the horror that followed. “I ended up at an
army checkpoint… and they let me through even though I was wearing a kippah and
had Israeli license plates… I ended up in the center of Ramallah, stuck in
traffic and surrounded by Arabs,” he says. “I still didn’t realize where I was
because I relied on my GPS.”
Soon, however, Ochana was spotted by the local Arab residents. “One Arab
merchant came up to my car and started rapping on my window….He asked me if I
was Jewish and I answered ‘yes.' I immediately knew that something was wrong.”
The Arab merchant then entered Ochana’s vehicle through the window, punched him
in the testicles and stole his cellular phone. “He began to yell ‘a Jew, a Jew’
and other Arabs soon approached me. They stole my GPS and my other cellular
phone,“ said Ochana.
This mugging was soon the least of Ochana’s problems, as a lynching almost
ensued afterwards. “An entire mob approached me and began to throw rocks at my
car….they broke both the front and back windows….I began to cry and ask ‘why
me?’” Ochana recalled.
Just as Ochana began to fear the worst, however, help came from an
unexpected source. “Two Arabs came out of nowhere…One of them pulled me out of
the car and asked me if I was insane. They ran with me to the Qalandiya
checkpoint while we were chased by rock-pelting Arabs the entire way, and handed
me over to Israeli soldiers,” he recounted.