A year after three hitchhiking Israeli teens were abducted and murdered—events that sparked last summer’s Gaza war—the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has decided to implement a new practice to improve the security of hitchhikers in Judea and Samaria.
Israel Hayom reported that the IDF will be sending reservists in civilian vehicles to provide security for hitchhikers in the territories. The cars will travel past popular hitchhiking spots each afternoon and into the night, observing the roads and looking out for suspicious sights.
The timing of the program coincides with summer vacation, when youngsters are more likely to be looking for rides, as well as with the recent rise in terrorist activity in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem. It also comes at a time when intelligence authorities have received several reports of plots to carry out another abduction.
Har Hebron Regional Council head Yochai Damari had approached the commander of the Judea Brigade, Col. Yariv Ben-Ezra, asking to increase security due to a lack of public transport. Even after last year’s abduction/murder, residents of Judea and Samaria of all ages have not stopped hitchhiking.
“Telling our children not to hitchhike does not work,” Damari said.