Rightwing attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir is suing the Paz gas station chain over an incident in which a worker at one of its stations repeatedly called him a “Nazi” and gave him a Nazi salute, repeating the phrase “Heil Fuhrer” several times. Ben-Gvir, who has a consistently winning record in cases against leftist groups and individuals, is demanding NIS 200,000 in compensation for the sullying of his reputation.
The incident occurred in a Paz gas station in central Tel Aviv, when Ben-Gvir, who had stopped to refuel his vehicle, entered a convenience store operated by the station to buy a snack. As soon as entered, the attorney said, a worker behind the counter – apparently recognizing him – opened a barrage of insults. Ben-Gvir immediately took out a digital device and began recording the incident. In the footage, the attorney is heard asking the worker if he “knows what the Nazis are or what they did,” and whether he was “ashamed of himself.” The worker can be seen continuing to insult the attorney, and even translating what he was saying into English for the benefit of another customer in the store.
In response to a complaint by Ben-Gvir, Paz said that the operation of local stations – and what happens there – is the responsibility of the franchise holder. In his lawsuit, Ben-Gvir names all three parties – Paz, the franchise holder and the worker – as responsible for the incident. In a statement, Ben-Gvir said that “Paz must take responsibility for its worker. The denigration of the Holocaust by this worker is unacceptable, and there is no place for a worker to insert his political views when dealing with a customer.”
The worker is no longer employed at the station, and Paz said in its response that he had been fired as a result of the incident – a claim Ben-Gvir disputed, saying that “the worker himself told me he was leaving the job the next day. If they did something like this to a leftist like Zehava Gal-on [head of Meretz] the country would be in an uproar, and the company would be falling over itself apologizing and offering to pay damages. The same thing will happen here,” Ben-Gvir said.