In Israel, one of the hottest items that’s stolen is the cell phone. Stories have been told about how someone would place ones cell phone on a table and some 9 year old would nonchalantly walk by and pocket it.
One time my stepbrother was visiting Israel and had rented a pre-paid Israeli cellphone from the United States. One day the phone fell out of his pocket and he retraced his steps to where he last saw it. When he came to the location, he saw two Sabra teens playing with it. He asked them to give it back to him, and they said no, it was theirs now. When he insisted, they took my stepbrother into their fathers’ store. The father in turn interrogated my stepbrother and had him list each of his contacts’ names before he gave it back. In short, these guys gave him the Israeli treatment. Poor guy.
A couple of years ago I had to make an emergency trip to Israel. I was only there for 3 days and booked the flight 24 hours in advance. As a result I had no time to rent out an Israeli cellphone. One day I’m at a main shopping center with my Mother (who lives there) and couldn’t find my way around – I was temporarily lost. I therefore asked everyone around me, in my broken Hebrew, to do me a huge favor and loan me your cellphone for a minute or two. Nobody wanted to – they just walked the opposite direction! I finally got, after 20 or so requests, one person to let me borrow his cellphone, but with a facial expression to go with it that said that he really didn’t want to do this Mitzvah. My mother explained this mentality to me and believe it or not, it makes sense!
So, in visiting or moving to Israel, cheap cellphones are the way to go. They’re more reliable, have better battery life, and don’t get stolen as much. Even if they do get stolen, it’s more cost effective to replace than a more expensive smart phone.