Arab Assailants in Car Stone, Chase Fleeing Hearing-Impaired Motorists; ‘I Was Sure We Would Die’
Five Arab youths in northern Israel stoned and pursued a car containing two hearing-impaired Israeli couples in a terrifying high-speed chase overnight Saturday, Israel’s Walla News reported.
“I still haven’t gotten over the ordeal; I’m still terribly traumatized,” said Dafna (name changed to protect her anonymity), one of the passengers in the vehicle, which left Lavon, a small Jewish village in the Upper Galilee at about 03:00 am Sunday morning.
Roads in the area, close to the Lebanon border, are narrow, twisting, and largely unlit. Jewish villages and kibbutim, and Israeli Arab and Druze towns and small communities dot the hilly, rural area.
“The pursuit was crazy, they traveled at 140 miles per hour throughout the Lavon descent towards Acco [on the northern coast].
“There were moments when they also opened the doors of the vehicle to better hurl stones at us,” Dafna said.
During the chase Dafna said she felt stones hitting the car.
“I was shaking throughout the ordeal, and was sure we would die,” she recalled. “They signaled to us to pull over, but we were afraid to stop and tried to escape from them while driving in a dangerous zig-zag.”
Finally, a “tire blew and we were trapped,” she said, noting that, since they were hearing-impaired, they had to text rescue messages to the police, as seen left:
Dafna: “Help us, we’ve been attacked by Arabs. Rescue us, please.”
Police 911 dispatcher: “At which interchange are you located?”
Dafna: “The descent of the Lavon-Karmiel road; they’re attacking us.”
Police 911 dispatcher: “Does someone with you have a cellphone?”
Dafna: “Come quickly.”
Police 911 dispatcher: “What road? Junction?”
Dafna: “Come, we are deaf; please, we’re begging you.”
Police 911 dispatcher: “Where exactly are you on the road?”
Dafna: “Please – I’m pleading with you – they’re attacking us on the road. Please hurry; the Karmiel road.”
Police 911 dispatcher: “Stay with me. How nay attackers are there?”
Dafna: “A bunch of crazy guys. Please come, we’re deaf; please – we’re begging you.”
After ten minutes of conversation conducted via text messages, it became clear that the motorists had had an accident at the Achihud intersection, some 13km from Lavon.
“During the chase, we were able to get away from them, around them. They were behind us, and then we reached Achihud, where there was roadwork, and a concrete separation wall,” Dafna said.
“My husband, Oded, slammed on the brakes, and [the Arab vehicle] rammed the back of our car,” she said. “Our car was crushed from behind and crashed into the barrier.”
As a result of the accident, the vehicle’s front tire exploded, but, fearing for their lives, they kept driving until they reached the entrance to Acco, where a police car was waiting for them.
“The wheel exploded and caught on fire, but we knew if we got out of the car, they’d attack us, so we continued to flee towards Acco. We smelled the stench of the burnt tire,” Dafna added.
Again, she tried to sms the police hotline and, again, asked them to send help.
Dafna: “Accident. Send a squad car, accident, urgent – they’re attacking us, please.”
Police 911 dispatcher: “I’m trying to figure out what’s going on, explain. Did you have an accident? Is [the driver] next to you?”
Dafna: “Come, my hands are shaking.”
Only later did they learn that all five attackers were injured in the accident and were hospitalized. Despite their horrific experiences, Dafna and her friends were not injured.
While Dafna and her friends believe the attack was a racially motivated hate-crime, police believe that the attackers were simply drunk.
Police said in response to the reporter’s query, that, “Indeed, a complaint was filed with the Karmiel police. The attacker is likely to be a resident of a village in the north and was probably under the influence of alcohol, and during his trip he threw a bottle into the vehicle. Passengers with the attacker were injured in the accident and taken to a hospital, and therefore their identity is known to the police.”
“The suspects will be arrested and questioned by the Karmiel police,” investigators said.