Israel is not alone in the Middle East when it comes to abandoned cars.
Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria have all been hit hard by the phenomenon of car-free neighbourhoods.
But this is the first time the Israel Government has done anything about it, according to a report released this week.
“This is the only place in the world where people are completely free to leave their cars behind without any consequences, without any restrictions,” said the report’s author, Prof. Shlomo Gershon, an Israeli academic and expert on car culture.
The report, “How to Get Rid of an Abandoned Car Market, Zion Market”, was released by the Israeli Ministry of Transportation (MOT) and the Israel Taxi Authority (ITA).
“I have been talking to people all over the world, especially Israelis, about the problem of car accidents, car-riding and car-driving, and we have all heard about this phenomenon, but it has been really difficult for people to get involved,” said Gershon, who teaches at Bar-Ilan University in the United States.
This report is a first step towards helping people find solutions to their problems.
The study analyzed data from 1,700 Israeli taxis that operated in the city of Tel Aviv from 2007 to 2016.
It found that the percentage of cars in the car-less areas fell from 23.9 percent to 17.3 percent in that period.
According to the study, car use fell by 30 percent in the first year of the initiative, and by 20 percent the next.
In the two years following, the number of cars dropped by 17.7 percent and then stayed stable at around 18 percent for the next two years.
Israel, which has been trying to crack down on car theft, has taken measures such as setting up “stop-and-search zones” and hiring extra police to enforce traffic laws.
Gershon said he believes that there is a solution.
“[We] need to find a way to prevent people from getting behind the wheel, and if they are going to get behind the wheels, we need to do something about it,” he said.
He suggested that we all take responsibility for what we are doing to our cars.
While there are many solutions out there, “you need to start with something that is practical, and practical solutions work,” he told The Jerusalem Post.
What are the main problems?
Gerhon said that in Israel, car owners can’t afford to get their cars out of the garage and put them in a parking garage, or buy new ones for $200 a month.
It’s difficult for Israelis to leave empty-handed, because if they do, the car will be towed and a parking ticket will be issued.
There is also a risk of damage to the car’s battery.
Furthermore, there is an increased risk of a crash in a car with a cracked windshield, because the car could get hit by a car driven by a drunk driver.
Why is this important?
“There are many other problems that we are talking about, including an increase in crime, which is also connected to the lack of public transport,” Gershoff said.
“But it is important to remember that there are some big obstacles to solve.
For example, there are no rules around where people can leave their vehicles, and it is not really clear what constitutes an acceptable car space.
When we look at the Israeli context, we see that people have always had the freedom to leave a car behind.
The fact that Israel is in the middle of the Middle Eastern desert makes it very difficult for us to do this.”
There is a lack of social and legal structures that will help people deal with this,” Gorshons said.