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When Shoshana Garma found herself unable to operate the alarm and remote locking mechanism on her car, at first she thought the problem was just her own.

But then she realized that many others who parked their cars on the same street in Safed's David Remez neighborhood were having the same problem.

"Our lives are out of sync," she complained on Monday, after a week of being unable to use her remote.

"The remote control that operates the locking mechanism and alarm system simply does not work, and we can only lock and unlock the car manually. It is really strange and no one can explain it."

When Kobi Biton came to visit relatives whose home is on that street, he, too, fell victim to the bizarre phenomenon.

"I parked my car in the street, pressed the button on the remote control in order to lock the doors, and nothing happened," he said. "Then I realized there was a problem. I tried starting the car and it wouldn't start. It is bizarre. I have never experienced such a thing."

In the end, he managed to bypass the alarm system and start the car. But when he returned to the same area the next day, he parked at a distance and walked the rest of the way. "I was afraid I was going to get stuck again," he explained.

Ashkelon residents experienced a similar phenomenon in many parts of the city during the recent military operation in the Gaza Strip.

However, they attributed their problems to air force activity during the offensive and the army's takeover of the airwaves, which affected the frequencies used by car alarms and remote locking mechanisms.

No official source has ever confirmed that this was indeed the case. But even if it was, the David Remez neighborhood is far removed from any site where military activity occurs.

Sign of hidden antenna

Garma believes there is a hidden antenna somewhere in the area. However, no evidence of this has yet been found.

Employees at Oz Car Accessories, a local shop that specializes in such accessories, said they are familiar with the problem.

A number of Safed residents who have been unable to start their cars have asked for their help, the employees said.

They contend that frequencies from the high-voltage electrical wires over the neighborhood are causing the problem.

"What they have to do is roll their cars downhill and get away from the electricity pylons," said one.

"At first we would go to the street and start the cars, but now they just call us and we tell them what to do over the phone."