Watch: IDF video warns soldiers, civilians of abduction threat
A new IDF campaign strives to warn Israeli teenagers living in the West Bank against the perils of hitchhiking due to a disconcerting rise in the threat level in the area.
Schools and youth movements are screening the video, which shows a boy boarding an unfamiliar car and then kidnapped at knife-point.
According to the IDF, since the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, intelligence has indicated growing determination among the Gaza-based terror groups to abduct Israelis. According to the defense establishment, more than 20 cells plotting such attempts were nabbed in 2012.
The IDF released a similar campaign directed at soldiers in early 2012.
Civilians, especially youngsters who wait alone for a ride in various areas of the West Bank, are considered by the IDF as an easy prey for kidnappers. The campaign is meant to warn them of the dangers of hitchhiking.
"The idea is to raise awareness to the kidnapping threat and make everyone show some responsibility," said Lieutenant Colonel Maki Siboni from the Judea and Samaria Division.
"Beyond the kidnapping scenario, the video also shows ways to avoid it. We say hitchhiking should always be the absolute last resort, and even then with other friends, and only in regulated, well-lit areas."
Lieutenant Colonel Siboni explained that kidnapping is viewed by terror groups as a strategic, high quality operation which benefits the groups' cause.
He admitted that the terror groups view kidnapping soldiers as a higher priority, but that "kidnapping a civilian is also something that could happen and we're taking that into consideration."