Since Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali went missing on Thursday night, there has been a debate on the safety of Tremping in Israel.
Since I first came to Israel over 25 years ago, one of the things that impressed me about Israeli society was the culture of tremping, the idea that we are all one big family and are all looking out for each other. When I was in Yeshiva in Efrat I regularly traveled by tremp, and now that I have my own car, whenever possible I pick up trempistim.
During the Oslo War when there were many tragic bus bombings, no one suggested that we should stop all buses in Israel, rather people said that we have to find ways to make buses safer. Similarly now, it has been encouraging that people are discussing ways to make tremping safer.
Life in Israel is reporting that there is a new Moked for emergencies in Yehuda-Shomron (1208), I also saw a new app today with a panic button in case of emergency.
These solutions are important and all trempistim should be aware of them. The problem is that it is a safe assumption that if someone is abducted, one of the first things the captors would do would be to get rid of the trempist’s cell phone, possibly before they have a chance to place an emergency call.
Here is my idea for an app that would help keep trempistim safe. I am not a developer and have no idea what would be involved in creating such an app, if you have the ability to create the app, feel free to take my idea.
The app would work as follows -
Trempistim would register to use the app and select codes (as described below).
When a tempist sets out on a journey he (or she) logs in and says what Tzomet they are tremping from and where there destination is. When they get home safely, or get dropped off at a different tzomet closer to their destination, they log in with their new current location, or report that they arrived safely and log out.
From the time that the trempist logs onto the system, they receive a message every 10 minutes asking them how they are. Each time they get a message they have one minute to reply with a code that they set up for one of the following responses:
- I'm still waiting at the tzomet for a temp
- I'm safely in a tremp traveling towards my destination
- I am safely at my destination, please log me out
For each of these responses, if they enter a code one digit off, it sends an emergency signal.
If they don't respond within 1 minute the app automatically sends an emergency signal.
This means that an emergency signal would be sent out within 10 minutes of an abduction, even if the phone has been disposed of, but there would be no indication on the phone that a signal was sent
When an emergency signal is sounded, the app automatically contacts any other trempistim who were logged in from the same area, as well as contacting registered volunteers who are within a 5 km area of the trempist.
Volunteers would have to register in advance, but would include not only army vehicles and police, but the private security officers in each Yishuv, Hatzalah, ambulances, and other emergency services as well as volunteer citizens.
Volunteers in the area would initially be instructed to try to locate the phone. It is possible that the distress code was entered by mistake or the phone was accidentally dropped or broken which is why the trempist didn't respond. Volunteers would have an “all Clear” code that they can enter if they can confirm that all is well.
If the phone is found abandoned, or volunteers are unable to locate the phone within a few minutes, an urgent SOS goes out to all volunteers with detailed information - location, and personal details of the trempist including a photo. This would allow security personal to erect checkpoints within 20 minutes of a suspected abduction and put other volunteers on the lookout for suspicious behaviour.
This would hopefully avoid the fiasco that is being reported that there was a communication breakdown and it took several hours between the distress call and the army being made aware of the situation.
If anyone can see any obvious flaws in my idea or way to improve it, feel free to leave a comment. If anyone has the resources to develop such an app, I give full permission to use this idea for non-commercial purposes with the objective of keeping our people safe.
May the IDF with the help Hashem quickly bring back or boys.