MTV romanticizes stealing Israeli cars

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 |  Ryan Jones

In its latest episode “The Vice Guide to Everything,” the newest reality show on MTV, dives into the world’s most popular foreign affairs topic, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by romanticizing the widespread Palestinian theft of Israeli cars.

The episode, titled “Ramallah Racing,” opens with the host’s narration stating that “since legally importing car parts is such a hassle, some enterprising young Palestinians came up with a clever alternative - sneak into Israel, steal a nice car, then drive it back into the West Bank and chop it up for parts.”

Viewers are then introduced to “Adam,” a Palestinian man who claims he no longer actively steals cars, but has volunteered to demonstrate how it’s done.

Adam asks the understanding host, “Someone who steals our land, why shouldn’t we steal his car?”

Adam is then shown smashing the window of an Israeli vehicle and struggling to break into the steering column. The show’s host helps Adam to break the column’s covering and start the car. The two then race away while giving approving nods to one another.

Nearly 50,000 Israeli vehicles are stolen every year. It is one of the worst criminal plagues the nation deals with. Prior to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, car theft in Israel was at normal levels. But it has more than doubled thanks to Palestinian thieves being able to quickly reach a safe haven in PA-controlled areas.

Israeli authorities do not dare to enter the Palestinian areas to reclaim the vehicles, since repeatedly doing so would cause an international uproar against Israel. The Palestinians know this, and use it to their advantage.

In turn, the rampant theft is a major factor in creating distrust of the Palestinian Arabs among Israeli Jews. Promoting and romanticizing that theft can only serve to further drive a wedge between the two sides.

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