Tefillin Causes Bomb-scare in Australia

Erratic driver stopped by police, who mistook tefillin strapped to his head for explosives. High speed chase ensues.

Boy wearing tefillin.
Boy wearing tefillin. Gil Cohen-Magen

Jewish prayer practices have caused a scare in Australia, when police officers mistook tefillin for explosives.

The incident occurred on Thursday, when police cars rushed to a highway near Melbourne following reports of a truck driving erratically, Yahoo!7 reported.

When they arrived, the truck was parked on the sideway, and the driver was apparently praying, with tefillin strapped to his forehead, as is the Jewish custom.

However, the police officers, unversed in the ways of the Jewish faith, believed the apparatus to be a bomb, and ordered the driver to step out of his vehicle.

But the driver ignored the officers and drove off. Officers called in a bomb threat and immediately closed the highway, one of the busiest around Melbourne, and went in hot pursuit. But the officers were astounded when, after a while, the truck turned to the opposite lane, driving straight at incoming traffic at 100 km an hour.

Eventually police caught up with the truck, and the driver surrendered. Police estimate the driver is suffering from psychiatric issues, but admitted that he indeed was not carrying a bomb, but only tefillin.