The Big Felafel

Yom Hazikaron: Remember those that have fallen and those that lift us up

Israelis mark Holocaust Memorial Day in JerusalemAs we celebrate our fallen soldiers throughout the many wars and plights for the state of Israel, it’s important to remember, on this day of remembrance, not only our fallen soldiers but our everyday heroes as well.

As a new immigrant, the move to Israel is more turbulent than just the plane ride. In fact, that may be the easiest part. It’s like you are suddenly playing the board game of life, but you keep landing on the squares that screw you. You jump from bureaucratic offices stumbling through conversations in Hebrew and not understanding a word, to trying to open a bank account, contract a cell phone and maybe even get internet. All the while you are crying, pulling out your hair and wondering what the hell you are doing here.

So maybe you didn’t cry as much as me (my tears could fix the water drought!). And maybe you didn’t pull out as much hair (with the right tools I could create my very own shaitel – wig). And just maybe you are more of a Zionist than me, so you didn’t want to pack your bags and take the next plane back. But I know you have fought many a battle with one of the above mentioned. I know you have had small victories and bigger defeats. I know the man has gotten you down.

But do not give up. Do not lose faith. And do not move back. We are here to make a difference. Each one of us will find his or her calling. I now know mine is to fight for consumer rights in Israel. My battle with Pelefone is over and I am the victor. Me! Me! Me!

pelephoneIn a previous post I wrote two months ago I told you about my ensuing battle with Pelephone. My complaints seemed simple enough: stop charging me for internet since I don’t use it or want it. And where is my contract because I never agreed to pay NIS 50 for this phone! My complaints were met with yelling matches between the customer service agents who do not believe the customer is right and managers who would rather belittle you then admit their faults. I was angry and deflated like a shriveled balloon. But somehow rather than exploding I came to my senses and decided to fight for my rights

I searched the web for consumer rights organizations and filed complaints. I demanded Pelefone for my contract and told them I would sue if I was not heard. I wrote my post and through the gift of social media, found support and help from strangers that have also struggled like me. And finally I found my Israel Israeli that could give me the confidence and will to fight until the end.

Everyone needs an Israel Israeli on their side. Israel Israeli is the person that comes into your life just when you are about to throw in the towel. He or she will not only encourage you to fight, but to fight hard. And they will even get on the phone and speak on your behalf, write letters and give you a high five for the small triumphs along the way. They will be there for you and never ask for more than a thank you for their efforts on your behalf. They will never give up. They will restore your faith. And you will not want to move back.

My fight with Pelefone is a not just a victory for me but a victory for all new immigrants who don’t believe the system works. Ok, so most of the time it doesn’t, but if you just commit to the fight and hold on to your Israel Israeli then you have a chance.

At the beginning of my battle with Pelefone, the manager told me I would never be able to cancel my internet charges. Not only have I successfully cancelled them, but Pelefone is refunding the last several months of charges. Also, my fight against paying NIS 50 a month for a phone that I remembered the customer service agent telling me would cost NIS 15—which at the time was a big deal for me since I was paying NIS 5 a month before that—was an accomplishment. Since Pelefone does not keep contracts (a standard practice for all cell phone companies) they had no proof of the original agreement. They told me they had given me a copy, which they did not, and said it was my responsibility to keep it safe. And what about them? Why didn’t they properly file a hard copy of the agreement? Well, after several letters, emails and phone calls (all with the help of my Israel Israeli) I stand before you today the proud owner of a phone that I now pay NIS 15 for!

Get empowered! Get help! And get an Israel Israeli! If you have issues, write them here and you will find that others will come to your aid. And since I believe this is my calling, I too will help you (and hopefully my Israel Israeli will be by my side).

Just like the heroes on the battlefield, there are also our everyday heroes that make a difference when it comes to the field of life. I thank my Israel Israeli for giving me the strength and knowledge to fight and win my rights as a consumer. I thank all those that have let me cut in line at the supermarket, slowed down their car to let me cross the street, gave me directions when I was lost, or just smiled when there was no reason to even make eye contact. Our country has survived because of the fallen soldiers that died for our right to live and because of our everyday heroes that give us the strength to battle on.


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  1. * Rebecca says:

    I am glad my Israel Israeli was so helpful. It is good to know he is appreciated! If only he could do this full time, think how many people he could help (and how much he would enjoy it)!

    | Reply Posted 14 years, 1 month ago
  2. * Shara says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I like the way it was written and who doesn’t love a victory story? Keep up the good work! Who is this Israel Israeli that you and Rebecca share?!

    | Reply Posted 14 years, 1 month ago
  3. Pls let me know how to fight this. I thought I was pretty israeli already (more than 25 years and sound like a Morocan especially when I am angry).

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 11 months ago
  4. Who helped you fight it? How do I get in touch with the legal department?

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 10 months ago
  5. * Molly says:

    Hey! A quick update- Hebrew University has free law clinics that may be able to help a lot of you with different rights issues. Check it out!

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 7 months ago
  6. * judy says:

    I am having a huge fight with pelephone and they clearly could not care less. My parents have been taken for the ride of their life and pelephone refuses to release them from a contract signed yeasterday.
    Any advise?

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 4 months ago
  7. * Molly says:

    Hi Judy,
    My advice: Do you have the contract? If so you need to read it because there has to be some kind of way out of it. Can you be more specific with the problem? Also, you need to speak with their legal department- since the customer service people are not helpful and can’t do anything. Let me know because I want to help!

    | Reply Posted 13 years, 4 months ago
  8. * Shira says:

    Thank you so much, this has given me the strength to continue my battle with HOT, who continue to charge me for a service, that I was told was for 12months, but they now tell me I’m tied in for 2 years. Every time you talk to a manager, they promise to phone back the next day with an answer, but so far that has bever happened. We all need to bring these corrupt companies to the notice of all new immigrants!

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 11 months ago
  9. * Molly says:

    Shira! DO NOT GIVE UP!!! Continue to call, write, do not faltered. You can get through this. Deman to see your contract like I did. Then take it from there. Good luck and let us all know how it goes!

    | Reply Posted 12 years, 11 months ago
  10. * alsky says:

    oy vey

    im reading so many bad stories about the beauracracy in Israel. I am planning my Aliyah. I think its great that some Israelis go out of their way to help new immigrants.

    | Reply Posted 11 years, 3 months ago

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