Exploring the Old City of Jerusalem I made a mistake of dropping for lunch with my family into the Shawish restaurant in the Butcher’s Market (Shuk HaKatzavim) in the Old City of Jerusalem. The second mistake I made was not checking out prices in the menu before ordering. We ordered two portions of shawarma which normally costs about NIS 25 per portion, with accompanying set of salads and chips and two bottles of mineral water.
The first suspicions came when I asked for local malt beer Nesher. It was not available but the guy who served us was too insistent to offer all possible replacements, to the point of harassment. No doubt that if I took anything he offered that would be the most overcharged item in the bill. Fortunately I refused.
The second suspicion came when the family in the corner got the bill for NIS 250 (first I took them for locals but they were tourists), they were visibly shaken and confused but paid without arguing, probably because four males running this racket now become obviously aggressive and intimidating. The group on the left were obviously locals, probably relatives, when shouts started they quickly said farewells to owners and disappeared without asked to pay.
At the end of the meal I was also presented with demand for NIS 250. Our request to elaborate the bill has been met with insults and shouts. The eldest thug brought the menu which listed the price of one shawarma portion NIS 70. They attempted to overcharge us some lamb dish which we neither ordered nor eaten. After we threatened to call police, the final bill for NIS 160 was issued. I paid NIS 160 and left under accompaniment of insults, curses and shouts. Obviously these four guys were ready to unleash violence at any moment.
Later on I did some research on this thieves den and came up with following:
Just a few day later in the same place – “A tourist from Australia received a shock when he saw the charge on his credit card after enjoying a meal at the Ash-Shawish restaurant near Muristan Square in the Christian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem Thursday. The tourist found that instead of the NIS 350 ($100) the meal should have cost, he had been charged NIS 36,000 ($10,320), more than 100 times the true cost of the meal.” https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/239692
“Imad al-Shawish, who owns a restaurant in the historic walled city, told Ma’an that municipality officers raided his business on Monday and assaulted workers with iron rods. They hurled a stun grenade and a tear gas canister inside the restaurant without showing an inspection warrant,” he said, adding that officers detained his business partner Salah al-Shawish and fined him 5,000 shekels ($1,278) without providing a reason.” – since this account is given by pro-palestinian channel Maan, the owners are presented as innocent victims of police brutality.
The owners probably belong to a criminal branch of Shawish clan, a vast connected family according to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawish_clan).