(February 7, 2022 / The Israel Guys)Roger Cohen, former editor and columnist for The New York Times, once said that Palestinians were forced to use donkey carts and dirt tracks to move about the West Bank, while Israelis zoomed down superhighways. If you’ve ever been to Israel, you may have seen a donkey cart or a camel. You also most certainly saw at least one Israeli driving on a highway. If you haven’t been to Israel, then you may have seen one or more of these images on the international news.
What you likely don’t know, however, is that this statement, believed and repeated by thousands of people all over the world, does not represent even a tiny fraction of the reality of what is happening inside what the world calls the West Bank, but what is really Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
We have a Youtube channel called The Israel Guys, where our mission is to tell true and authentic Israeli stories every week. Being American Christian Zionists who are based on the Mount of Blessing in the biblical heartland of Israel (the so-called West Bank), we like to take our cameras out to the local towns and villages to capture the reality of life on the ground.
Last year we published a video of us traveling to several Palestinian towns to document the types of houses that Palestinians live in. After the video went viral, with hundreds of thousands of views, we began to document other aspects of Jewish and Arab life in Judea and Samaria. One example: We caught a fake riot on camera, where all of the international media outlets were pointing their cameras in the wrong direction. What our lenses captured was a crowd of angry Palestinian rioters throwing rocks at an empty road. It was a scene straight out of Hollywood.
This time, we decided to take our cameras and see for ourselves what the Arabs are actually driving under the supposed “Israeli occupation of the West Bank.”
The results might shock you. In the space of one day we traveled to roads just outside of Ramallah, Nablus and Qalqilya. We counted more than a thousand vehicles with green or white license plates (those registered under the Palestinian Authority) that were made by Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagon, or Audi. We also counted a number of Range Rovers, Land Rovers, Jeeps and even a Jaguar and a convertible Ford Mustang. The more common vehicles, that we did not include in our “luxury car” count, were brands like Skoda and Hyundai.
We even interviewed multiple Arab car owners to ask them about their vehicles. Many of the owners that we talked to said they had paid more than 200,000 shekels for their vehicles ($65,000 U.S. dollars). A dealership owner that we spoke with in the village of Huwara in Samaria said that Audi is one of the most common brands coming into his shop.
The ironic part of our day came when we tried to find an actual donkey cart. Anyone who has been to Judea and Samaria more than once has probably seen a donkey or horse here and there, but even though we had been watching the roads for more than eight hours, we had yet to find one. We were determined to find a donkey cart, however, and after driving for nearly 30 minutes, and nearly reaching the Green Line, we finally stumbled upon a horse and cart. Unfortunately, the driver was not impressed by our cameras and would not let us ride on his cart for the closing shot of our video.
Throughout the day we counted more than 1,000 cars that were either classified as luxury (such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi) or high-quality vehicles (such as Volkswagen). We estimated that these accounted for about a third of all the vehicles we counted during our time watching the roads.
Next time you see an international news outlet claiming that all Palestinians are poor, live in huts and drive donkey carts on dirt paths in Israel, point them to our channel. There are poor Arabs living in Israel, just like there are poor Israelis, but they certainly do not represent the majority of the Arab population in the so-called “West Bank.”
For those of us who consider ourselves Israel-lovers, it’s important to not only know the truth, but to more specifically know the facts and reality on the ground so that we can stand with Israel in our own communities.