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December 9, 2014 4:31 pm

IDF Soldiers ‘Kidnapped’ for Their Own Good in Covert West Bank Sting Operation

avatar by Dave Bender

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Gush Etzion Junction, where the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers took place in June. Photo: Hillel Meir / Tazpit News Agency.

Despite terror abduction alerts, near-attempts and bitter “successes” by Palestinian kidnappers, Israeli army soldiers still hitchhike and risk their lives, according to a report on Israel’s Ch. 2 News.

IDF regulations allow troops in uniform to travel in military vehicles and on public transportation only, and forbid hitchhiking – or “tremping,” as it is known in colloquial Hebrew – in private vehicles.

But hitchhiking for soldiers is a societal norm and extremely common in Israel.

To emphasize the threat troops are facing and set an example, in December, Military Police officers, posing in one case as a medic and postal service employee, staged a “kidnapping” of an unassuming soldier.

The sting mission began at the military police base at the army’s Central Command, next to a Jewish neighborhood in northern Jerusalem, an area that is also heavily populated by Palestinian villages.

During the ride, the vehicle also passed by the site of the abduction in June of three teenage Israelis who were executed by their Hamas captors shortly after they entered their vehicle.

The soldier is seen entering the vehicle, and sitting between two presumed civilians – who are in fact military policemen.

When he was engaged in casual conversation, the soldier readily divulged classified information, such as where he served, how many soldiers were stationed on his base, and similar information, which would have served as intelligence gold to terrorists.

'We're the Military Police soldier, and you're under arrest.' Photo Screenshot, Ch. 2 News.

'We're the Military Police soldier, and you're under arrest.' Photo Screenshot, Ch. 2 News.

After the brief chat, the front seat “passenger” is then seen flipping open his IDF ID, and the driver stops the vehicle.

“You’re under arrest by the military police – why’d you take the ride?” he asks the soldier as the two reveal their identities.

In recent months, no less than 10 soldiers were “abducted” in such operations, in what the IDF considers one of the most severe disciplinary offenses, according to the military police.

“The threat of taking rides is very large,” according to Lt.-Col. Barak Danin, the central district’s military police chief.

“We deal with enforcement on a daily basis,” he said, but added that, “there’s been a big drop over the same period since I was a soldier; there is more awareness.”

Recent IDF statistics seem to back him up.

In 2011, 376 citations were issued for the offense, 218 in 2012, 193 in 2013 and in 2014, so far: 142 – a 27 percent decrease from last year. The army cited warnings, public advertisements, and deterrence as being behind the drop in statistics.

Watch the video clip of the “sting” here.

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  • Gaza strip have virtually declared war on Israel! Can we expect such a rabble of unruly terrorists to abide by the Geneva convention on war?

  • Lauren Goldman

    I live in San Francisco and would never think of hitchhiking, anywhere, so I can’t imagine risking my life by hitchhiking in Israel.

    • Dvorah

      It is, as the article said, a societal norm. Before Oslo, it was extremely safe to hitchhike in Israel. Civilians continue to tremp, but anyone in uniform is not allowed. Old habits die hard.

      The reason it is no longer a societal norm, in the States, to hitchhike is because the States has long been a much more dangerous place to live, even without factoring in the terrorism from Muslim jihadis with which Israel suffers.

      As an example: I can walk alone at night in my city, and most Israeli women can walk alone at night in Jerusalem — or they could before the Muslims declared war on Jerusalem recently, with little risk to safety. That has been unheard of in the vast majority of cities in the US for decades.

  • howiej

    Why doesn’t the IDF or government provide more public transportation so that soldiers do not have to hitchhike?

  • Wm. J. Levy

    Who said Israelis couldn’t be stupid enough to temp rides and reveal classified information.

    They should be severely punished so others would learn from this breach.

    The Arabs are blood thirsty and merciless but they’re not stupid, just primative.