The Week of the Police Robots

Abandoned objects rarely get stolen in Israel. People lay them out where others can see the, or leave a note. Once I even saw a lost key hung on a nail on a tree.  But if an abandoned item is large, like the unfortunate six-year-old’s backpack left at the bus stop on the first day of school, the police throw the object into the nearest pit and explode it.

At least that’s what they used to do. Over the years we have developed more sophisticated ways to handle suspicious objects.

Last Thursday, I noticed  a line of traffic all the way down the street. I looked out the front and saw a police van:police van with robot
A small robot stood nearby, and after a few minutes it began rolling toward the intersection. Just before the video below begins, the police warned people to step back from their windows. I convinced my kids that we were far and high enough away, but the noise of the explosion still caught me off guard. Long-time readers will recognize the view from my laundry window.*

So the neighborhood became safe once again. At least for a few days.

Yesterday morning I heard a commotion and found the street blocked off again. I had a much better view this time. This robot is prettier too.

robot exiting van

I wondered whether the robot’s target was this truck, in which case I did need to stay away from the window:

jeep with suspicious sacks in back.

I called down to the policeman, who shook his finger at me, “No.”

The policemen prepared the robot for deployment:


Then the robot moved down the street out of sight:

After answering the phone I climbed up on my kitchen counter and spotted it near the steps of a neighboring building. I caught the robot just as it dumped the contents of the bag onto the sidewalk.

It turned out to contain videos and some other other junk.

After inspecting the material, the policeman deactivated the robot:

So ended another adventure in this country’s strange combination of careless neighbors, terror threats, and futuristic technology.

*For the record, the new traffic circle is convenient but overgrown with weeds. Elections are over so I guess there is no incentive to decorate it.


  1. Interesting…
    Raising bilingual children

    • mominisrael says

      Thanks, Hershey, for visiting. You’re talking about my kids in the video?

  2. In the video the robot looks like a dog with a toy in its mouth the way it’s shaking that bag.

    When my son was in kg, one of his classmates’ fathers was on the bomb squad and actually brought one of the robots to class one day to show them! (I was a bit horrified that they were talking to 5 year olds about bombs, but the kids thought it was amazing.)

  3. Hershey says

    I’m talking about the kid in the vid who alternates between the Hebrew and English modes.
    Of course there is nothing unusual about it. There are many American OH’lim and Hispanic Americanas, for example. It’s just that sometimes I’m envious of those children. Something I had to work so hard to acquire, they take for granted.

  4. mominisrael says

    Thanks, Hershey. I’ll remember that the next time I can’t understand their English.

  5. mominisrael says

    Robin, that does sound like fun. They probably downplayed the bomb part of it.

  6. Klara LeVine says


    there’s a wonderful program called Tuesday Night Live in Jerusalem

    In one of the first shows, Rabbi Riskin from Efrat was one of the guests, and he talked about what he loved so much about living here. One of the things he said was that even the smallest of kids can speak Hebrew here, isn’t it amazing?! I laughed so hard because that’s also how I felt watching how all these kids knew Hebrew better than I do.

    btw, we call a mixture of Hebrew and English, Hebrish – a very well known phenomena amongst us olim.

    My parents, as immigrants from Hungary, did the same with English and Hungarian, so growing up sometimes I didn’t realize a certain word wasn’t a common word in English. I find it fascinating when my kids talk to each other in Hebrew – then I know our klitah has been successful.

  7. You have all the excitement. Remind me again why people are afraid to drive out to “the territories”? LOL!

  8. mominisrael says

    Klara, thanks for the insight.
    Tamiri, LOL. We just had another one–a bag of old clothes at the bus stop. They didn’t blow it up either. I tried to call you over Pesach. Please let me know next time you are in PT.

  9. B”H

    Great photos!

    I wanted to post on such activity I witnessed a couple of weeks ago by the Tel Aviv Cen. Bus Stn. but photos didn’t turn out. There was no point, since I wanted to provide an explanation of how we have to deal with suspicious objects on a regular basis.

    • mominisrael says

      B-Y: Sorry about the pix; you can use mine for illustration if you like. Thinking about it they are fairly common but 3 in one week on one block is excessive!

  10. Cool Robot videos.

    For Homework I have to write a report about an article that discusses the potential usage or method descriptions about how robots can be used in disaster sites or an article that discusses general information about a rescue robot or a class of rescue robots.

    So then I remembered you were tweeting about robots in Israel, so now this gave me an idea, to research that, it’ll be cool to learn more about it.

  11. Thanks. If I do, I’ll send a link back!

    I believe there is a hefty fine, if they catch who left particular items out in conspicuous locations.