When Camels Roam Free and Dangerous (Walla Interviews Meir Deutsch of Regavim)

In Frontlines by Micha Gefen

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Tomorrow, Tuesday, there will a discussion in the Knesset on the issue of the roaming camels in the South.  In preparation for discussion in the Knesset, Meir Deutsch, Director of Policy and government relations at Regavim, came to the studio of Walla! News and explained the severity of the disaster that roaming camels can cause.

In face of the fatal road accident that occurred last month in which a 60 year old woman was killed when her car collided with camels, Deutsch said “accidents involving camels are more fatal than regular traffic accidents.  When there is a collision with a camel, the main brunt of the blow in the accident is on the driver.  This is because the camel is so tall.  The engine of the car is almost not damaged at all and all the weight of the camel, which is around on average a ton, falls on the driver.”

Regavim keeps close track of the phenomenon of stray camels in the Negev. The association also is the legal representative for the family of David Cohen, who was killed a year and a half ago after being hit by a roaming camel.  “It is difficult to pick out camels when driving because of their color which is like the color of the dunes that blends in so well with the natural landscape,” added Deutsch. “If you hit a camel, it is very difficult to escape without injury.”

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Deutsch affirms that each year the organization receives reports of approximately a   thousand camels roaming the South. “The accident this past month could have been avoided. We and motorists have turned to the police and warned them.  The Police indicated to us that they have received a very large amount of reports, but they have noticed that in the last two years they were successful in finding the owner of the camel only once. Usually Bedouins reach the accident site and cut the number imprinted on the camels ear in order to hide his affiliation to them. Most of the time it is not possible to find the owner.”

According to Deutsch, it is the responsibility of the camel’s owners to ensure that roaming does not go unsupervised near roads. “We are initiating a law that would require the owners to put a microchip on the camels under their skin much like on dogs, to help to be able to identify the owners.”  He added that the incompetence of the authorities has led to loss of life on the roads. “Every year there are about 15 accidents with injuries. Three years ago, for example, an entire family perished in an accident. This is due to cost-saving policies by the camel owners.  Instead of having the owners pay for hay to feed the camel, they send the camel out to graze in the open,” Deutsch  said. “With the help of the bill of MK Bezalel Smotrich which has the support of 50 other MKs, which is being brought forth to the in the Knesset, we hope that the situation will change.”

 


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