The ordinary citizens of Israel.

I once wrote about the difference between Americans and Israelis when it comes to putting out office fires. Now I have the chance to write about Americans and Israelis in the situation of a roadside car fire.

I know, right?

On the way home from the North, I was jolted out of my sleep on the back of the 962 (Tveria – Jerusalem) when the bus stopped and I realized that a few meters ahead of us was a van on fire. The van’s contents, a religious family with two small kids, were standing on the side of the road along with a couple of cars who had stopped to help, or at least sympathize. There wasn’t much to do except wait for the firefighters to come and put it out.

Or was there? Our bus driver thought differently and grabbed one of the bus’s dinky fire extinguishers and ran towards the flaming van, which was getting worse. After one didn’t work, he came for the second. Other bus drivers and their passengers who had stopped behind us were using their dinky extinguishers as well. That clearly wasn’t working when the fire exploded towards the back of the van, eating its insides and leaving only frame.

We soon drove off, but not before a lot of spraying on the part of the bus driver, running around on the part of the soldiers and staring on the part of the passengers. The van’s family had found a ride with some random people. No one was hurt when we left, and they were still waiting for a fire truck or even a cop to arrive.

highway fire




fire extinguisher

So, what would have been different in the States? Cars and buses would have passed right by, but not without slowing to stare at the scene. But on the bright side, fire trucks and cops would have been there a lot faster.

It is nice, though, that here in Israel people try to do as much in their power, even if logic deems it useless. There’s no such thing as an ordinary citizen.






  1. ifyouwillit... Avatar

    When I witnessed something similar on 443, there were many people willing to help out and keep the flaming car under control. Oddly enough, I haven’t witnessed car’s on fire in any other country!

  2. Christopher Hire Avatar

    Very interesting post. I came across your blog through Stumble Upon.

    I think this is a neat point, actually it’s a Western big-city thing (not just US), Australia is the same in big cities, but not in country towns.

    You have an interesting blog. Good work.

    best regards,

    Christopher Hire

Whadya got: