Israeli Bill Seeks to Minimize Car Accidents Caused by Wandering Camels
A GPS for camels is one of the solutions being suggested in relation to a proposed Knesset bill, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Sunday.
The purpose of the legislation is to reduce the number of car accidents caused by camels wandering onto southern Israeli roads and highways – a problem that has led to the deaths of 12 people over the last decade.
The GPS, a prototype of which has already been tested, would be attached to the necks of all camels, and signal to their owners when they reach a certain distance from a paved road.
The main clauses in the draft of the bill, according to Channel 2, include supervision of the marking and registration of camel ownership; criminal and financial sanctions against the owners of camels involved in accidents; and the tools and authority to enforce the law.
Aside from the obvious benefits to be had by eliminating camel-related road carnage, however – said Channel 2 — such a bill needs to be examined from the point of view of how it will be perceived by members of Israel’s Bedouin community, who hold most of the camel herds and who therefore are the main targets of the proposed legislation.
“It’s a good idea and one that can also protect my herd,” a Bedouin who has placed a tracking device on his own camels told Channel 2. “I can decide on the radius that I want the camels to be allowed to roam within, and if they stray, the instrument sends a beeping signal to my cellphone. The cost is not so high, and it also protects my camels from theft. In addition, if one of my camels were involved in a car accident, aside from the tragedy, it would be a big [financial] loss for me.”
Eran Doron, director general of the Ramat HaNegev local council, is pushing hard for the bill to pass. He said, “It is not a political issue, but a social one of the highest order. The phenomenon of wandering camels endangers all travelers on the roads of the Negev, both Jews and Bedouin alike.”