Third time, ice cream

The twice-bombed kiosk across from the Jerusalem International Convention Center reopens to an outpouring of support.

Bombed Kiosk Jerusalem 311 (photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
Bombed Kiosk Jerusalem 311
(photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
On a normal day, Shimshon Moshe – owner of the food stand Pitzutz Shel Kiosk, across from the Jerusalem International Convention Center (Binyenei Ha’uma) – talks to thousands of people. He acts as an informal information booth, directing tourists and native-born Israelis to the correct buses, and as an unofficial policeman, keeping his eye out for anything out of the ordinary.
Between selling cans of Coke and bags of Bisli, Moshe has spent much of the last two days pointing out the holes in his kiosk that were created when a duffel bag exploded just two feet away last Wednesday, killing one woman, UK national Mary Jean Gardner, and wounding 39.
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Almost everyone who passes by stops to ask about the bombing, or about Moshe’s brother-in-law, David Amoyal, who was working in the kiosk at the time of the explosion and was wounded in the attack.
This isn’t the first time that Moshe’s kiosk has been a terrorist target. It was totally destroyed in a bombing on December 25, 1994.
Following the bombing, Moshe, who has owned the kiosk for more than 20 years, ironically renamed it Pitzutz Shel Kiosk (“A blast of a kiosk”).
After last week’s bombing, he is considering renaming the kiosk again, Moshe told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
“I might name it, ‘Third Time, Ice Cream,’” [pa’am shlishit, glida] he said, laughing, referring to the popular Israeli expression used when something happens by chance twice in a row.
When people passing by hear this suggestion, they laugh as well. It’s the best way to react to this situation, explained Moshe.
Amoyal is still hospitalized at Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem, while doctors are debating whether to transfer him to a rehabilitation center, said Moshe. Both of his hips were broken, and he will need additional surgery to remove the steel balls that are embedded in his stomach. It will be months before he can walk again.
“If he had stayed in the kiosk and closed the door, he would have been fine,” said Moshe. The shrapnel from the explosion pierced the right side of the kiosk, but the impact would have been much less.
While he was calling police, Amoyal left the kiosk and started yelling at people to move away from the bag. Three teenage yeshiva students who were sitting on the stone wall behind the bag got up and started moving away after hearing Amoyal’s warning.
They had backed up about 10 meters when the package exploded. All three were wounded, but without Amoyal’s quick action it could have been much worse, said Moshe.
One of the boys’ fathers had come to the kiosk earlier in the day to thank the family.
The kiosk is has been receiving an outpouring of sympathy from the public.
Autistic children who attend a special school in the area have come with handmade cards, candy, and cookies for Amoyal.
“People come, they don’t even want to buy anything, but they come and say, ‘We came to support you,’” said Moshe. “Many people insist on paying five or 10 extra shekels for a small package of gum.”
The kiosk’s regular customers have been to visit Amoyal in the hospital.
Though the area is being heavily patrolled by police, Moshe has already had a few scares when people forget their bags, and twice he has called the police to report suspicious items, both of which turned out to be false alarms. Even during quiet periods, Moshe reports suspicious items to the police at least a few times a month.
“This is my only livelihood, and I’ve been here for more than 20 years,” said Moshe.
“It’s our mission, we feel like we’re sometimes part of the police, protecting people… We do it because it’s our nation, the nation of Israel,” he said.