MembersDrug Highway to the Promised Land: An Israel Today Exclusive

Israel Today’s Editor-in-Chief o
gives us an inside, first-hand report on Israel’s growing drug smuggling troubles from the desert.

By Aviel Schneider |
View of the border area between Israel and Egypt as it seen from Road number 10, southern Israel Photo: Yossi Zeliger/Flash90

“Wild Wild West” is the name now given to the areas along Israel’s southern border with Egypt. Especially, the 40 km from Nizanna to the Gaza Strip, and a 90 km stretch in the direction of the Ramon Crater, have become desert highways to smuggle drugs into the Jewish state.

It starts deep into the night. With the help of eight-meter-high (30 feet) ladders, Egyptian Bedouins throw their sacks over the fence where they are collected by Israeli Bedouins on this side of the border in just minutes. The Israeli Bedouins have remodelled and souped-up off-road jeeps that no Israeli vehicle can catch in the wild race across the desert.

Almost weekly along the drug routes there are violent clashes. Egyptian smugglers shoot at Egyptian and Israeli forces to distract them during the smuggling operation. The Bedouins position lookouts to cover the operations, as well as implement diversionary tactics, all coordinated with an Israeli Bedouin operations officer who works with his Egyptian counterpart via encrypted radio messages. The smugglers have also figured out how...

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