A Channukah Miracle in Samaria
By Anav Silverman
Tazpit News Agency
It was true Chanukah miracle for a young couple from Dolev, whose one-year-old daughter was kidnapped by local Palestinians that had hijacked the family’s car on Tuesday afternoon, December 3. Driving home to Dolev, a community located in the southern Samarian hills north of Jerusalem, the Israeli mother had her daughter buckled in the back car seat, when a Palestinian vehicle that had been tailgating suddenly bumped into the rear end of her car.
“I pulled over and got out to check what had happened. There were three Palestinians in the other vehicle and one of them came out and asked if there was any damage. I turned around to reply and before I could even answer, he was already in my vehicle,” the mother told the Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot.
“The two cars drove off and I was left helpless.”
The Palestinian carjacker sped away with the young mother’s car – as well as her little girl who was asleep in the backseat along with the mother’s cellphone and wallet.
In an interview with Tazpit News Agency, the father of the young girl described the frantic phone call he received from his wife following the carjacking.
“They left my wife standing in the middle of the highway all alone and the only thing she could do was yell: ‘my baby’s been kidnapped.’ A Palestinian man saw her yelling, pulled over and gave her his cellphone so that she could me and the police,” the husband told Tazpit.
“When I received the call, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I wasn’t sure if it was even my wife. The number was unknown and my wife was hysterically yelling that our daughter might be killed. I asked her what my teudat zehut [Israeli identity number] was to verify that she was really my wife was and when she told me, I knew the situation was real,” recalled the husband.
From that point, the husband realized that every second was critical in order to save his daughter’s life. He immediately put on a pair of shoes, left their home in Dolev and asked a friend who was armed to drive him to his wife’s location.
“At the spot that my wife had described where our daughter was kidnapped, I found my wife hysterical. She pointed to the direction that the Palestinians had driven off – to Ramallah.”
Recalling the situation, the husband said he was proud of his wife. “She didn’t faint, she alerted everyone that had to be alerted – this was a horrifying situation.”
The husband, who asked that he and his family not be referred to by their real names in press reports due to security concerns, said he and his friend immediately drove to the nearby Arab village to locate the car.
“We couldn’t find the car in the first village, so we drove off to the neighboring village and there was an Arab man there who stopped us and told us in Hebrew, “Come with me, everything will be OK.”
They followed him and the husband and his friend found the car abandoned, with several Palestinians surrounding the vehicle. “I immediately went to the back door and our little girl woke up,” he told Tazpit. “She gave me a smile, which made me feel better and I gave her a hug. I acted as if nothing was wrong – that we weren’t in the middle of a Palestinian village, or that our car had been stolen, that everything was ok.”
But the story didn’t end there. Palestinian police arrived on scene and wanted to take away the father to Ramallah for questioning. The father refused and waited for Israeli police and military to arrive. Once they did, the couple and the daughter then traveled with Israeli police to a station in Modiin-Illit and the mother was asked to identify the car thieves, who were familiar to police.
“When my wife saw our daughter, she breathed a huge sigh of relief,” recalled the husband, who was an officer in elite IDF unit.
“There could have been so many terrible endings to this situation, but ours was a miracle.”
Both parents work in the fields of social work and youth education. “Thank G-d, our situation ended the way it did but people need to know that these kinds of things happen all the time in our region. These situations can leave people in such trauma – ours was but a rare victory.”
“There are rocks thrown at our vehicles all the time, property and cars are stolen frequently, homes broken into – it’s the Wild West out here,” noted the husband. “They see women driving and they think that they can do what they want.”
Naama Tzemach, 26, from the neighboring Neriya community near Dolev told Tazpit that residents in the communities of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council live with miracles every day. “These kinds of things happen all the time. I’m scared to drive in certain areas because of what the Palestinians will do to us, but this is home at the end of the day.”
Mother of three, Tzemach explains that “Anything can happen here but G-d protests us – there’s no other way to explain what goes on here.”