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May 5, 2008

and then they pulled out the guns...

Saturday night, we were returning from a nice Shabbos spent in Jerusalem. It was about 10:45pm or so, and we stopped to fill up with gas (prices were always ridiculous, so the new price increase has little affect on anything) at the Paz gas station just after Shaar HaGay on Highway 38.

I pull up to the self serve lane and start filling the tank. Generally, I take out the keys form the ignition when I get out to pump gas, but my kids were listening to a cassette (yes I still have a cassette player in my car, not a cd player), so I left it on for them.

A digression for some description: the area in the gas station just in front of where we are is a parking area for people going in to buy stuff in the station, along with an air pump for tires. There are always a number of cars parked there. There were some on Saturday night as well, including one or two I had seen pull up as I was waiting for my turn at the gas pump.

So, as the gas is pumping, I was washing the back window of the car. Just then I hear a screech and a smash, like the sound of a car smashing into another. I look up and see a small dark car, having smashed past another small red car, speeding towards me in reverse. He must have been doing about 50 or 60 kmph in reverse, and he was swerving. I thought he was either going to smash into my car, or into the gas pumps and we would all die. Sure enough, he avoided us both and sped away on the other side of the same pump. He turned the car around and sped out of the gas station the wrong way (he egressed through the entry) and sped away turning left (illegaly) towards Highway 1.

All of the sudden I saw about 5 or 6 other people jumping out of a few cars - the red car, another big white van that was partially blocking the gas station exit, and another car. Right away I ran to the front of the car and took out the car keys. At that moment I suspected the guy had stolen that dark car. I remembered that there were stories that in this gas station it is common that when people leave their keys in the ignition while pumping gas, sometimes somebody jumps in and steals the car. So I ran over and took the keys out of the ignition.

(BTW, this is all happening so fast, I did that as the car was speeding by me still)

As I was taking out the keys, I see the people who had jumped out of cars screaming to stop the car and running in various directions. One guy was carrying some sort of stick. Another guy was waving a gun around (about 3 feet in front of me). And all 5 or 6 guys were wearing sweat shirts with hoods.

As the guy sped away, they all got back in their cars and left to chase him (I guess).

Nobody knew what that was all about. The gas station attendant called the police I think, but while we were there nobody showed up. Meanwhile we were all talking about what it might have been. The main suggestions were either an undercover policeman trying to arrest someone on a drug deal or something like that, and the guy got away. the other suggestion was that it was meant to be a mafia/gang hit, and the guy got away. I finished pumping the gas and left. I saw nothing about it in any of the news media yesterday....


  1. Wow, we've stopped there so many times and nothing like that has ever happened to us. Were your kids scared? Glad you didn't get hurt.

  2. yeah, kids were scared. They were screaming (I did not hear, but they and my wife, told me afterwards) that I should get in the car and get out of there...

  3. I thought we were not suppose to use that station since it is open on Shabbat. I guess you wont use it anymore.

  4. "yes I still have a cassette player in my car"

    me too (but with an adapter for the ipod)

    "it is common that when people leave their keys in the ignition while pumping gas, sometimes somebody jumps in and steals the car"

    you are really trying to shine a good light on the country on the eve of the 60th

  5. Israeli criminals... isn't that what the Zionist dream included originally?

  6. i think there is a (apocryphal?) story ascribed to herzl, in which he stated that he longed for a jewish state in which jewish policemen arrested jewish thieves (or prostitutes?). this would should that jews finally reached a state of normalcy.

    or was it ben yehudah?

  7. I, too, had a difficult time remember to whom the story is associated (and I was too lazy to look it up). That is why I did not write a name.


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