‘Families in the Negev should fear for their lives’ – Driver recounts wild chase by Bedouin robbers

Israeli man recalls being chased by armed Bedouin criminals on southern roads, with speeds reaching up to 200 kilometers [124 miles] an hour.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

Armed Bedouin criminals attempted to rob a group of Israelis traveling in the desert, chasing the victims for some 20 minutes and reaching speeds of up to 200 kilometers [124 miles] per hour, as crime in the region continues to increase.

“We were a bunch of friends celebrating my girlfriend’s birthday in the desert, and we stopped to take pictures of the sunset,” Shai Hayut told the Morning News program on Channel 12.

Hayut recounted that suddenly, a car parked near his group and “two Bedouins came running out, with one of them holding a gun. He yelled at us to freeze.”

He quickly understood that the armed men “came to attack us, to steal our car or our stuff, I don’t know what. We jumped back in the car and drove away as fast as I could. I felt my military instincts kick in, and the Bedouins came after us,” he added.

“They chased us for at least 20 minutes – I was going 100 kilometers [62 kilometers] an hour off-road [to try to get away] and we had a French tourist with us in the car who was terrified.

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“I called the police and they never showed up, never helped us. I ended up returning to the main road and driving 200 kilometers [124 miles] an hour. The chance that we could have flipped the vehicle was high.

“This incident was totally absurd. There is no [law] enforcement in the Negev… Families who want to take day trips in the Negev and the desert should be in fear for their lives.”

Regional police said the incident involving Hayut was “under investigation.”

Jewish residents of the southern Negev desert region, which has a significant concentration of Bedouin-Israeli citizens, have long complained of rampant crime in the area.