A mountain-lion attack on the car of a South African tourist is drawing condemnation from Israeli authorities and a black-robed Israeli police officer.
The car, driven by Israeli photographer Christian Kostele, was driving from Tel Aviv to Amona, Israel’s largest Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, on Wednesday evening.
The lion was then spotted by a local who alerted Israeli security forces, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades.
Kostel, who has been living in Israel for a decade, said the lion appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and was in a bad mood.
He said he saw it lunge at the car and tried to wrestle it away, but it was too late.
“I was sitting in my car, and I saw the lion, with its mouth wide open, lunge forward, grab the steering wheel and grab the passenger seat,” he told The Associated Press by phone.
“It lunged forward and the lion lunged at me and I got off the car.
He grabbed the driver’s seat, pulled it out and I hit him.
I have no idea how much blood was on the floor.”
He was treated by paramedics, and is now in stable condition.
Kastel said the police officer who pulled him from the vehicle is a veteran who is a member of the animal control department.
“This is a dangerous situation and I want to make sure that nobody is hurt,” Kostela said.
Israel has been dealing with a rise in mountain lions in recent years.
In 2015, Israeli officials identified the lion as a threat to Israel’s population, and ordered the government to put a fence and other measures in place to keep it away.
In August, Israeli authorities removed a large lion cub from a nearby fence and announced the death of a lion that had attacked a pregnant woman in southern Israel.