Only In Israel

Saturday, July 09, 2005

A story of a phone

I imagine most of the readers of this blog have a cellphone. How many of you lost one in your life? How many of you had one stolen?
Personally, I lost 2 so far, one of them I'm quite sure was stolen from me by a far-too-nice taxi driver. What do you do when you lose a phone? Cancel the account with the phone company, to make sure noone makes calls on your account, and that's pretty much it. Get a new phone. Here's a story of a Palestinian who lost a cellphone.
The guy had to go through a metal detector and forgot his cellphone on a concrete block near it. A soldier at the checkpoint noticed the phone sometime later, and took it with him to his room. His commander hasn't seen him do so, but another soldier had. Later on, after his shift was done, he took the cellphone to his room. There a few more soldiers seen the phone, but no commanders. One of the soldiers who have seen it (incidently, he has a deskjob position and never been in a checkpoint in his life) offered to buy it for 70 shekels (roughly 15$). The guy who found it, agreed, and the other soldier took the phone, changed the SIM card and used it as his own. The other soldiers who have seen the phone have noticed it was missing the next day. Once they learned that it was gone, and that a Palestinian has come to the checkpoint looking for a phone he lost they demanded the guy who found it to get it back and return it to the Palestinian. He didn't, and they went to the commanders and told them the story.
So far, it sounds bad. Real bad. A phone taken, you might as well say stolen from a Palestinian, sold to someone who knew where it came from and still bought it.
But not only did every soldier other than those two was revolted and complained, you should hear about the penalties they got.
The guy who found the phone and the guy who took it, got 28 days in prison each. The two soldiers who have seen him playing with the phone and only reported it the next day after he hasn't returned it, got 14 days of detention each. The soldier who found the cellphone won't go to any command courses till the end of his service. Every soldier in the battalion was called to a meeting where we were told about the incident, the penalties given to the soldiers and warned.
This makes me proud, for several reasons. First, the soldiers had reported their friend to the commanders after they've seen him do something morally wrong. Second, the soldiers who have done the bad thing were punished, severly, and I'm quite confident noone in the battalion won't even THINK of taking anything he has found in a checkpoint back to base instead of finding it's owner.
I just wish things worked like that in civilian life. Obviously, I haven't heard of anyone finding a cellphone and not returning it doing prison time yet.


  • They made 2 mistakes.
    A) Recuperating & selling it.
    B) Not writing down the phone numbers that were on the chip's memory & forward it to Intell. Perhaps there was an interesting phone number on it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:41 PM, July 11, 2005  

  • I'm glad you posted again; I enjoy reading about your life in Israel.

    By Anonymous Arielle, at 6:22 AM, July 14, 2005  

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