(photo credit: IDF)
Only a week after officially taking the post of OC Northern Command, Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eisencott was confronted with a hostage crisis of a different nature Saturday, after Palestinian car thieves offered to return the general's stolen car in exchange for a NIS 50,000 ransom.
Eisencott's IDF-issued vehicle, a white Toyota SUV, was stolen at gunpoint Friday afternoon from Eisencott's driver on Rehov Sheshet Hayamim in Hod Hasharon. The driver, a career soldier, was threatened with a knife and a gun, and was lightly injured when he was forced out of the vehicle by three assailants.
The driver immediately reported the theft, and police and IDF units hurried to set up checkpoints, but to no avail. The vehicle was discovered early Saturday in the West Bank town of Kalkilya less than 10 kilometers away from the wealthy Tel Aviv suburb from which it was stolen.
The thieves contacted the driver Saturday, and demanded a ransom of NIS 50,000 in return for the vehicle.
Police sources said that there were no classified documents or weapons in the vehicle when it was stolen, and emphasized that the vehicle bore no military markings. Investigators speculated that the thieves did not know the identity of the vehicle's owner, but rather stole it for its high market value.