Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Shufersol is At it Again

No, no it's not the same dirty tricks they pulled on us in their last incarnation as Hyperneto.

In their new incarnation as "Shufersol deal" they've got a whole new bag of tricks!

They did away with the old membership cards.

Now, in order to get the benefit of their discounts (Doreen rolls her eyes at the irony of what she just typed) one must apply for a special credit card.

Listen up: The card is actually a Visa card that is issued by Bank Leumi but not in the framework of Bank Leumi itself.

They have contracted with some sort of an agent company that arranges the cards for them.

You must be a credit card holder in order to get this card. It is a card for transacting business only in Shekels. So, one must ask: If a person has a credit card, why get another one? Just to increase one's chances of a card being lost or stolen? If a person has a card that they can transact business in $s and Euros in, why get a card that is only good for Shekels?

The questions that are asked by this company are beyond an invasion of privacy. They ask:

Do you have children under the age of 18?

How many people are in your family?

How many rooms is your dwelling?

Is the property purchased or rented?

What is your profession?

Are you employed presently?

Are you a salaried employee or independent?

What is your income?

What is the total income of your family?

Only if you answer these questions to their satisfaction do they consider you worthy of their superfluous card that is limited to Shekels.

What is most ridiculous about this is that the Shufersol in Tzfat is located in the poorest section of the city.

How many folks around here are going to qualify?

I almost busted a gut laughing when I was told that the questions were being asked to determine whether I should get a gold or platinum card?

Me??? My neighbors??? ROFL

The questions are incredibly invasive - and stupid. They are based on stereotypical and shallow conceptions of who someone is and how much disposable income they have based on criteria that really say nothing. For instance: A person earning 25,000 NIS a month who is a gambler likely has less disposable income than a person who lives modestly and earns 5,000 NIS a month.

The bottom line is: There is no shortage of well-stocked, well-lit and pleasant supermarkets in Tzfat nowadays. Many of them cater to the Kasher L'Mehadrin set. They do not force people to become clients of any banks that they are in cahoots with.

Shefa Shuk, in particular, takes part in the MiCol HaLev program. In addition to their everyday low prices, the card gives the clients another 3% off the entire bill.

Super Story and the new Zol Po do not yet have mishlochim. That is their only drawback. Otherwise, they are lovely stores whose prices are very reasonable and whose wares are as kosher as kosher gets.

Please join me in requesting from Super Story and Zol Po that they get mishlochim. The infirm, the elderly and those without cars need that service.

Please join me in boycotting the Shufersol chain. I thought they had learned their lesson and improved when they became Shufersol deal here in Tzfat.

If they intend to become a fancy, epicurean chain that caters to people who qualify for Bank Leumi gold and platinum cards, then let them. But I can't think of a worse place for them to be situated that the southern part of Tzfat.

They are situation in a very desirable location. It is easily accessible by bus and there's plenty of parking in the Dubek Shopping Center. If they disdain the clientele that is typical of Tzfat, then by all means let them go where they will find the clientele they seek.

Let's do everything we can to "starve" them out of the highly desirable location they are in and let's make room for a more solicitous food chain that understands the economic needs of the average resident of Tzfat come in their stead. I'm sure that any number of food chains that already exist in Tzfat would be delighted to hear that that place was becoming vacant.

Don't let big business bully and abuse you. Increase justice and just plain sanity in our society!

G'mar Chatimah Tova,

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat (Safed), Israel

DoreenDotan@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Reasons Not to Live in Tzfat:

See my comments at the bottom of the post and the response to it on the following URl:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Tzfat/message/2864

Please read the text of my post on the following URL:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Tzfat/message/2866

A reason to live in Tzfat can be found in the response I received to the above post. Yes, Virginia, there are Jewish Souls looking for the Real Thing in Tzfat:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Tzfat/message/2867

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat (Safed), Israel
DoreenDotan@gmail.com

Friday, September 08, 2006

CHUTZPAH!

Tzfat has become increasingly Charedi over the years. With every political victory they become increasingly obstreperous. I say this as someone who is Shomeret Shabbat, Kashrut, etc. My husband has a long beard and peyot. (I know. I know. I am definitely not a typical Anarchist.)

I recently received an e-mail from a man who is soon making aliyah. He put an ad in the Tzfat and Tzfat environs electronic newsletter saying that he is coming on aliyah with his wife to Tzfat who is a concert pianist. He inquired about work for the two of them in Tzfat.

One day he wrote me saying that I seem like a moderate sort and telling me that he had received a number of nasty letters from people in Tzfat telling him that it is not modest for a woman to play piano in public and discouraging him from coming to Tzfat. HUH?!

He attached a photo of his wife playing the piano to the e-mail. She was very modestly, I was say extremely, modestly dressed - to the point of looking repressed and prissy. Most certainly, no one could accuse her of being flashy or theatrical in appearance.

I told him that there are many Russian olim in Tzfat, in addition to other culture vultures, and there is certainly a market here for piano teachers and those who perform recitals. A mostly Mozart series of concerts given here annually is so well-attended that one must procure tickets quite early. I urged him to add his open-mindedness to an increasingly benighted town, come here and add his efforts to fighting back the creeping darkness.

A few days later I received another e-mail from him saying that he and his wife had purchased an apartment in a community outside of Tzfat started by people from the B'nei Akiva Movement.

HOW DARE CHAREDIM SEND LETTERS TO PEOPLE CONSIDERING ALIYAH TELLING THEM THEY DO NOT BELONG IN THE CITY THEY ARE CONSIDERING MOVING TO?!

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
DoreenDotan@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Reasons Not to Live in Tzfat: Widespread Cowardice and Denial

The following is an interchange that I had:

Interlocutor: --- In Tzfat@yahoogroups.com, "chslar" wrote:>> > That people took advantage of the situation in Tzfat for personal gain> during the war is not in dispute (yes, I read the local papers too). What I dispute is that one can wholesalely condem the administration of> the city because of the actions of some.

Me: So long as Yishai Maimon is Mayor of this City it is his responsiblity to reign in his underlings if need be, which should not need be.

Most importantly, and I see that I need to state this again: What happened in Tzfat during the war is not an isolated incident. If it were I would chalk it up to fear, confusion, ineptitude.

It is not, however, a fluke or a foible. It is the most extreme and outrageous example of the treatment of the poor in this town by the Municipality and the "connected" families on an everyday basis. That is why I have said and will reiterate: This must be a "root canal job". We have to clean out the rotted, infected root of the problem of corruption in this town.

17 out of 350 of the Municipal workers remained in Tzfat, necessitating a military take-over of this city during the war. I believe a situation like that is unprecedented in Israel. There should be no precedent like that in a democratically-run country, not even an ersatz democracy that is really a plutocracy like Israel.


Interlocutor: Regarding the school, the two schools were combined and given the old Mamlachti Aleph school because it is bigger,

Me: My understanding it that it is smaller.

Interlocutor: What would you have said if the schools were combined and given the Mamlachti Gimel school, which has more bomb shelters but less space for classrooms?
You would have complained about that!

Me: I do not presume to put words into your mouth and second guess you. Kindly pay me the same respect.

I know, living in this neighborhood, that the parents of the children who are being transferred from Mamlakhti Aleph to Mamlakhti Gimmel are very, very unhappy about the decision. The parents are my neighbors. They feel shafted. They feel ganged up against by the authorities. They feel helpless to come to champion their children's rights. They know their children are being used as pawns in a political game. Last year they held a strike against the transfer. This year the Municipality got the gov't to join forces with them and essentially bully the parents into submission. If the parents had any reason to believe that their children were being bettered would they be so against the situation?

What say you about the children at risk who were dispossessed of their specially-equipped, purposefully-dontated kindergarten so that Charedi children could get the coveted facility as part of a political deal?

Interlocutor: I might point out, as well, that the spaces where the kids were learning> before from the Haredi/Dati schools, before they were given proper school buildings, had no shelters at all.

Me: That may very well be illegal. If you believed that to be the case then why did you not report the situation to the proper authorities? It is your legal responsiblity to report any and all cases of children being put, even potentially, at risk. Do you not know that? Why did you not do everything in your power to protect those children if you felt they may be in danger?

In one of your recent posts you describe a situation in which people were lined up begging for free rooms in hotels. I submit that no one should be reduced to begging for that which is coming to them - particularly not when someone else has usurped that which is rightfully theirs. Evidently, your friend who volunteered was not privy to seeing what was going on behind the scenes or the reasons why those who were entitled to the free rooms did not get them.

Were you in Tzfat during the war, by the way?

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat (Safed), Israel

DoreenDotan@gmail.com

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Request for Back-Up

I cannot stress to the residents of Tzfat strongly enough how important it is to expose the goings on in this town to the absolute maximum extent.

We have seen that the Mayor of Tzfat is media-shy. He evades attempts on the part of the local media to interview and question him. This is most true of the local paper "Chasifah L'Tzafon", which is the most openly critical of his performance.

He upbraided the Speaker of the Municipality for not doing a better job of (mis)representing the Municipality during the war.

The fact that he is so afraid of the media tells us two things:

1) He probably has something to hide.

2) Exposure is his weak point.

We must "hit" him in his proverbial Achilles heel.

If he and his cronies evade the local media, how much more so will they be terrified of exposure in the major media - and how much more so is this exposure, therefore, essential.

Those who organized the recent meeting at the Hotel Mercazi meant well when they advised those who attended to contact politicians and the ombudsman.

But they were naive.

This ombudsman has "distinguished" himself as a virtual do-nothing. His predecessors , considered far more effective in their jobs than he, did little more more than write up the failings of government bodies in an annual report.

To paraphrase an old adage (cleaning it up a bit): You don't scare a prostitute with a sexual organ.

No politician is scared of "being told on" to bigger politicians. They know those above them in the hierarchy are even more corrupt with even more to hide and more to lose. There is a code of honor among thieves among politicians. They don't tattle-tale on one another.

Exposure to the light is the fear of the politician. (Rendering them useless is their ultimate terror, but that is matter to be discussed at another juncture). Exposing the excesses, abuses and ineptitude of the Municipality, which makes life so very difficult in Tzfat for so very many on an everyday basis, and which became a direct and indirect threat to life during the war is what we must do.

Do not allow cowardice to masquerade as ideology and loyalty as we have seen in some of the posts on this board. Speak out! If you relinquish control over your life and your fate to others you may be sure that you will be shafted and ultimately endangered.

When so many people are being hurt, when corruption has reached the level where people were left to die while others luxuriated in hotel rooms for free - we must do every legal thing we can to correct the wrongs.

Among other measures; I have written to the New York Times in English and to the "Kolbotek "and "Medubar B'Tofa'ah" programs on Channel 2 in Hebrew asking for in-depth investigations of the goings-on in Tzfat.

I ask you to support that effort by adding your own personal stories and observations. Every request for investigations increases our chances that Channel 2 and the New York Times will investigate this matter. They are flooded with requests for investigation. We have to flood their mailboxes with requests to be noticed.

Thank every intrepid and justice-loving one of you who is capable of thinking and operating out of the box for your cooperation in advance.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Ofer Neighborhood, Tzfat, Israel

DoreenDotan@gmail.com