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I feel betrayed.
I knew living in Israel was tough when I moved back here. I had already been through so much.
But to see the little progress that had been made while I was gone, and to go through what I just went through, makes me feel broken. And sometimes hopeless.
During my handful of years living in Israel, I experienced how rough it can be when you have an unscrupulous landlord who doesn’t care about the place you’re living in, and the helpless feeling of knowing there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
I experienced severe medical malpractice, massive and unnecessary pain and suffering, combined with a system that makes it damn near impossible to get justice when this occurs.
And while living in Israel I experienced how the court system favors the wealthy and the big businesses, and how small and insignificant you can feel when face-to-face with an injustice. And how there is simply nobody looking out for the little person.
When Did This All Happen?
You may ask: Did this all happen during my first time living in Israel, or did it happen in these last six years since my return?
The terribly unfortunate answer: It happened in both.
And I couldn’t possibly be more upset about it.
I was given a gift upon renewing my plan with them. I was told it was completely free. And they then proceeded to charge me a great deal of money over the course of three years. By the time I noticed, I was already out a whole lot of money.
So we started the court process, and we were given a date. Six months! We had to wait to six months to have our day in court. Six months to find out whether or not there was any justice in the country.
Contemplating the Worst Case Scenario
I was nervous, but I tried to keep my head screwed on tight.
If we lost, the worst case scenario wasn’t so bad. Most of the money was already gone, so being forced to pay the remaining fees wouldn’t be felt too badly. And even if we lost, we would have learned essential lessons about successfully living in Israel. We would learn that Hot Mobile is not to be trusted and no one should partake of their vile company. We would learn to navigate the court system a bit. We would get indoctrinated into the watch-your-back lifestyle required to keep you safe in Israel. Always check your receipts, read the fine print, never trust anyone, a gift is never really a gift, etc.
But most importantly, we would be standing up for ourselves. Injustices happen every single day. And most people just sit back and let things crumble around them. They’d rather suck up the insane financial loss than sit around for six months waiting for a court case they’ll likely lose.
And I see where they’re coming from.
Sadly, now more than ever.
Our Day in Court
Well, we had our day in court.
And it went about as badly as it could. And in many ways, a whole lot worse.
The judge looked down upon us as if we were idiots for thinking we could challenge an established company. He blamed us for not knowing how to handle ourselves in such situations. And to top it off, he criticized us for not requesting the paperwork in English. Which, for anyone who’s been living in Israel for a minute or too, knows is not at all an option.
The fact that companies pull this garbage all the time was irrelevant to him. It’s as if each individual case is taken on its own merit, and no one is looking for any patterns of misconduct whatsoever.
Which is exactly the experience I had in Small Claims Court a couple of decades earlier, when a professionally crooked landlord demolished me in court… just like he had done to several previous tenants.
The Final Kick in the Balls
So we left not knowing the verdict, but seeing the writing on the wall. But we couldn’t have imagined what would happen next. We thought the worst case scenario was just paying the remaining fees, and some lost time. But then we received a bill for Hot Mobile’s legal expenses. So not only were we beaten and thrown to the ground by an inept and corrupt system, but once we were already on the ground, we were then given a swift kick in the balls.
We were essentially told to never stick up for ourselves.
We were told that doing so was useless, time consuming, and costly.
And I sit here writing this article in utter dismay.
I don’t understand how we got here. Israel was a fantastic project. A whirlwind of incredible accomplishments, doing the impossible at every turn… and then complacency and arrogance settled in.
And progress, in many ways, came to a grinding halt.
What Living in Israel Means
We wanted a nation to protect us from a dangerous and unforgiving world. But who’s protecting us from ourselves?
My day in court proved what I suspected all along. No one, no one at all, is looking out for the little people. No one is there to stare in the face of phone companies and banks and landlords to tell them this behavioral is unacceptable, and they are doing irreparable damage to a nation loaded with potential. They are ripping to shreds a hope and a dream, and leaving scores of people in the dirt, feeling they don’t have a place among their own people.
I recently listened to podcast with Ben Shapiro interviewing former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In general, it was a pretty decent interview touching on a lot of really good points, especially about the Abraham Accords. I thought the questions were a bit soft, avoiding tough topics like the Netanyahu’s indictment. But given the context, I imagine interrogating the man would have been a bit inappropriate.We wanted a nation to protect us from a dangerous and unforgiving world. But who's protecting us from ourselves? Click To Tweet
The Disconnect is Real
But my biggest gripe was about how out of touch he felt with what’s actually going on in people’s homes. What do people mean when they say Israel has a thriving economy? They mean we’re doing a lot better than filthy dictatorships in the same general region. They mean we have a thriving tech sector, with a few folk out there figuring out how to become wildly wealthy. And yes, some people in Israel are raking in money due to a newfound relationship with the UAE.
But guess what? I’m not one of them. I’ve never met one of them. The rest of us haven’t seen a penny from these talks. Our taxes are still sky high. We pay exorbitant and incomprehensible fees for so many things. Everything is expensive. And just when you think you might have a penny or two left over, it seems to get stolen by corrupt businesses and greedy landlords.
And there is no one out there looking to help or protect the “little folk” among us.
The situation is beyond uncomfortable. And not sustainable.
And needs to get better.
I don’t like what I see, and I am terribly worried for our future.