Female settlers in the West Bank are employing a unique method to ward off carjacking: Mannequins dressed in IDF uniform.
The new initiative came to life after a series of carjacking incidents by local Palestinians, who were targeting mainly women traveling alone.
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The dummies are supposed to give off the impression that the women are not traveling alone but with a soldier, thus reducing the chance of carjacking.
Over the past few weeks at least one crime ring has been operating across the West Bank, targeting Israeli cars while the drivers were still inside. Police have said that 13 such incidents have taken place in the last two weeks; some in Hebron and others in the West Bank.
Monday saw the arrest of a 23-year-old Palestinian while he was trying to steal a car from an undercover policeman near Qalqilya.
Miri Weitzman, a resident of one of the nearby settlements whose car was stolen 10 days ago said that "I was coming home from work, suddenly a white car with a yellow (Israeli) license plate passed me and blocked the road. I understood something bad was happening but it all happened so fast.
"I called my husband as two young men came out. One of them broke the window next to me, the other opened the door, grabbed my phone while screaming at me with an Arab accent 'you want to die?' and he threw me onto the road," she noted.
"Then they got into my car and left me with nothing, without a car or a phone or even the ability to contact anyone." She was alone in an isolated location in the dark.
"Luckily, my friend came by in a car and just rescued me," Weitzman added. "I just stood in the middle of the road waving my arms. I was questioned for several hours the following day and was told that the police consider it as a very serious crime and it is being investigated," she said.
Another initiative recently brought upon with the purpose of protecting the women drivers in the area, entails volunteers driving approximately a kilometer behind them. The women are supposed to leave their phones on and alert the volunteer following them of any suspicious activity.
"The feeling of helplessness is what brought upon the recent initiatives. We consider these crimes to be a terrorist attack like any other. We can't fall back on the idea that these are only car thieves. This is where we live and we must give the residents a secure feeling while driving," said the Shomron Resident Council.
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