The Judea and Samaria district police emergency call center received a call on Monday night around 9:30 p.m. from four family members from the central coastal region who were driving home from Jerusalem and took a wrong turn – ending up in Ramallah.
The police receptionist who handled the call reported to her unit captain in the command center, who identified the distress signal and put the family on a conference call with the regional brigade and the patrol unit captain of the Binyamin Region police station.
The call lasted roughly 20 minutes, during which time the regimental commander of the Binyamin district came on the line as well.
From the command center, the unit captain navigated the family out of danger in the Palestinian Authority (PA) stronghold using civilian and police technology, accompanying the family as they drove to the exit of Ramallah and arrived at the Kalandia checkpoint in northern Jerusalem.
At Kalandia, the family was met by Israeli forces who calmed them after their harrowing experience and led them on their way home.
According to the family, their navigation system did not work properly and they continued driving into the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Kalandia, and from there on to Ramallah.
The successful police action is an encouraging sign for many after the massive failure of the emergency call center in the case of the three Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel (16), Gilad Sha’ar (16) and Eyal Yifrah (19) hy”d, who were abducted and murdered by Hamas terrorists on June 12.
Police came in for flack and launched an internal investigation after it was revealed that Sha’ar had called the center minutes after the abduction – in a call in which the fatal gunshots could be heard, as well as the terrorists singing joyfully in Arabic – only to be dismissed as a prank call. Further, police delayed informing the IDF about the kidnapping until hours after the incident, letting the trail grow cold.
The fears of danger in Ramallah are very real, as illustrated in one particularly horrific incident in 2000 when two IDF soldiers took a wrong turn and ended up in the PA-controlled city, where they were brutally beaten to death by a lynch-mob.
More recently there have been several near repeats of that occurrence in Arab neighborhoods inside Jerusalem, with a family taking a wrong-turn into Jerusalem’s eastern Wadi Joz neighborhood last month and just barely escaping from an Arab ambush.
Another car filled with women and children earlier this month likewise escaped an Arab mob in the neighborhood of A-Tur, in part of what is being called a “silent intifada” as terror attacks have spiked in the Jerusalem area in recent months with barely any major media coverage