(Based on a True Story! We changed the name of the Olim! And the dog!)
By Aaron Pomerantz
Last Updated 9/3/2022 at 5:30 PM
Tel Aviv: The nation was rocked yesterday by shocking news that threatens the Zionist ethos of Aliyah to its very core. Responding to an angry email from Liami published reports, Israel’s Misrad Klita (Ministry of Absorption) admitted that the “Va’ad Bayit” does not actually exist. That’s right, the additional maintenance fees that Olim have dutifully paid each month to their Building’s “Superintendent” was just a giant prank/scam that Israelis have been playing on Olim since the 1970’s. The Daily Freier set out to get to the bottom of this disturbing story.
The Daily Freier met with recent British Oleh David S., the heroic Whistleblower who first uncovered this deception. “A woman in my Building yelled at me about all of the hair that my dog Fred was leaving in the stairwell.” David explained. “I told her that I pay 100 Shekels monthly Va’ad Bayit to my Landlord and that it’s not my problem. She stared at me for ten seconds and then told me that there is no Va’ad Bayit in the Building.” (Real World Editor’s Note: This. Really. Happened.)
In our Quest for the Truth, the Daily Freier then met with American Oleh Danny C. “Each month I get a note on my door explaining who owes Va’ad Bayit, what the money goes toward, and when the next Building meeting will take place. So on the day of the Building Meeting, I knocked on my neighbor’s door and asked where everyone else was. He looked at me like I was on drugs. I told him that according to the memo, this was where the Building Meeting was taking place. He told me that they don’t actually have meetings.” Danny stared into space for a minute and then continued. “I heard that he got in a lot of trouble for telling me the truth.” (Real World Editor’s Note: This. Also. Really. Happened.)
Finally, the Daily Freier spoke with one of the many perpetrators of the scam, Tel Aviv resident Irit M. “Every year we take the Va’ad Bayit money and have a party in HaYarkon Park with balloons and a Bouncy Castle for the kids.” Irit explained. “We wait for a day that none of the Olim in our building will be around. Sometimes we contact Misrad Klita and ask them to call the Olim in for fake ridiculous appointments about their education benefits or something.“
As the Daily Freier got up to leave, we asked Irit just how this scheme was able to go on for so long. “Because you Olim are SO Gullible!” Irit chuckled. “I bet you still think that the Hebrew language has vowels!”
Istanbul: The nation breathed a sigh of relief this morning after news that Iranian agents in Istanbul had released an Israeli tourist unharmed. Jeff Schwartz, an Oleh Not-So-Hadash from Long Island, was freed after his poor grasp of the Hebrew language convinced his captors that he couldn’t possibly be Israeli. The Daily Freier spoke with Jeff as officials from the Israeli Consulate escorted him to Istanbul Airport.
“Everything happened so fast.” explained Jeff as he stared nervously out the window. “One moment I was wandering around the Grand Bazaar, the next moment I was blindfolded in a van.“
The Daily Freier asked Jeff exactly how he was able to pull off his amazing escape. “I really don’t know.” he confessed. “This angry guy in a ski mask kept screaming at me in Hebrew. I knew he was using future tense verbs, but I had no idea what he was saying. I kept explaining to him that I still hadn’t completed Kita Bet and that he should stick to present tense. Then he hit me with a wooden mallet and I passed out. When I woke up, I asked him for ‘afshar mayim’, but I think that only made him angrier. After a while they just dropped me off on the side of the road. A nice Turkish family took me home and gave me tea and let me use their Wi-Fi to make a phone call.”
While his captors are still at large, Jeff convinced them that he ‘just really really need to post my Wordle score before my family on the East Coast goes to sleep“, and thus was able to secretly record a blurry video of his interrogation. While much of the recording is completely unintelligible, the Iranians appeared to make some progress after they switched to using flashcards.
Soon Jeff arrived at Istanbul Airport and his waiting flight back to Tel Aviv. Jeff profusely thanked the Israeli Consular officials and they promised to read the whole story of his 12-hour ordeal by checking out Jeff’s Aliyah Blog. But they were lying.
Beit Shemesh: “There are Facebook friends who share memes and like your posts; but you know what makes a real friend? It’s the people who bring me stuff when they come to visit, or at least send stuff with their cousin.” noted Malky, a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh-Aleph. “But now that Osher Ad sells Montreal Steak Seasoning and I don’t need to smuggle it from North America, how do I know who my real friends are?” Malky took a long sip from her coffee and looked into the distance. “I don’t.“
“Yeah, I know that you can find Montreal Steak Seasoning at AM:PM.” she continued. “But who has that kind of money? I have 7 kids. I made Aliyah for cheap Yeshiva tuition.” (Editor’s note: We’re sure there were good Zionistic reasons to….) “You think I’m going to waste those savings on Montreal Steak Spice and duck sauce? And no, Amazon won’t ship it here. My programmer husband built an algorithm to periodically check Amazon to alert me if they started shipping it here.
The next question we had for Malky is how a busy mom like herself discovered that Osher Ad was selling Montreal Steak Seasoning. “Someone posted on the group.” she replied breezily. “The group?!” we asked.
You see, the same Start-Up Nation ingenuity that taught us to nudnik the US Embassy for appointments also started a Facebook group so people can alert one another when Osher Ad has Kirkland toilet paper in stock…. or Skippy peanut butter, which they’ve been out of for AGES!
The Daily Freier research team confirmed that this group exists (What, you think we made it up?) and promptly asked about where to buy those nice big rolls of Kirkland paper towels.
“You know…” Malky reminisced. “This reminds me of something my Russian grandmother said they used to do when the Soviet stores actually had meat in stock . One of the ladies on her floor would knock on everyone’s door and everyone would immediately go to the shop. Things were so difficult back then…. nothing like now!“
Editor’s Note: This is our SECOND story obsessing over McCormick Brand Montreal Seasoning in less than 6 months. So our message to McCormick Foods is the following: “Pay Us.“
Jerusalem, Katamon: American Olim across Israel are puzzled by the bizarre behavior of their British, Canadian, and South African friends. You see, in the Diaspora we’re all Jewish. But somehow when we arrive here, the Israelis decide that we’re all “Anglo-Saxons” (really). Anyhoo, it turns out that Americans have less in common with their fellow English-speakers than one would initially suspect. The Brits and other assorted Commonwealthians are in fact all obsessed by potato chips (Wait… they’re called crisps? Really?) that taste like they fell in salad dressing at a picnic. And now a reasonable facsimile of those chips has arrived in Eretz HaKodesh.
“Look at them plotting their route of makolets; it’s like they’re planning the D-Day Invasion.” noted an American Olah named Dassie as she watched her roommates huddled in a Katamon Cafe. The object of their desire? Salt & Vinegar chips.
“Yesterday, I saw my roommate Hannah taking selfies in the supermarket like a teenager.” Dassie confided. “I’ve lived with this girl for 4 years and I haven’t seen her so excited since the time her cousin from Leeds came to visit and brought a suitcase full of Cadbury chocolate and PG Tips teas. Who makes such a fuss over something silly like that?“
As we sipped our ice coffee, we heard a ruckus in the snack section of a nearby kiosk, a British guy and a Canadian guy violently fighting over the last bag of salt & vinegar chips. The shocked kiosk owner remarked “Wow… A Canadian acting rude…. and a British guy showing emotion!Moshiach is coming!“
When we got finished laughing at this foolish reaction over silly potato chips, we accidentally told Dassie that we’re planning a trip back to the States this month and she asked us to bring back Ziploc bags, K Cups, Dunkin Donuts coffee beans, the new iphone, and some decent cleaning products.
Tel Aviv: “What am I doing for Sylvester? Am I supposed to know him? And why are we supposed to be doing stuff for him? I don’t understand!” complained recent American Oleh Alex P. “All my Israeli friends keep asking me what I’m doing for Sylvester…. and I literally don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Alex explained that this past week, all his workmates could talk about was this mysterious guy named Sylvester. “One guy said he’s making a Barbecue for Sylvester. Another guy is hosting a wine & cheese party for him. My supervisor said he’s going to the pub for Sylvester. He invited me to join, but I didn’t know how to answer. I like pubs, but is this Sylvester guy coming with us? Wait, maybe Sylvester knows that other mystery guy Alan?”
As the Daily Freier got up to leave, we suggested that maybe Alex would understand his workmates better if he invited them out to socialize. “Yeah, I already tried that…and it totally didn’t work.” he explained. “I asked the guys if they wanted to do something fun for New Year’s, but they just laughed at me and said to ask them in 9 months.”
Tel Aviv: “It’s a hate crime! Ethnic discrimination! Racism!” cried Mindy R. “These stores and their discriminatory practices that make the food I like more expensive. It’s just because I’m Ashkenazi, isn’t it?“
Mindy, a Passaic native who now lives in Tel Aviv, tearfully described her experiences shopping for food at her local AM:PM supermarket. “These cultural micro-aggressions have got to stop!”
“They’re charging 21 Shekels for a tiny bottle of McCormick’s seasoning, and like 10 Shekels for a kilo of some random yellow spices I’ve never heard of.” Mindy complained. “Their motives are pretty obvious; they think they’re better than me and are trying to force me to be like them…. maybe I don’t want to serve yellow chicken and yellow rice and yellow vegetables for Shabbos like every Israeli I know? That’s why they made the jars of duck sauce so expensive, because they don’t want me to buy them! And yeah, I tried Amazon and Target but they don’t ship here.”
We headed to Mindy’s corner supermarket with her typical shopping list: jarred gefilte fish, duck sauce, and cream of mushroom soup (You know, the essentials!) in order to get the whole story from Rami the manager. “Am I racist against her? No way! That girl is one of my best customers; she easily spends 4000 Shekels every month!”
We asked Mindy why, if she felt uncomfortable at her local grocery store, couldn’t she just go to another store like Osher Ad? “I would need a car to get to a supermarket like that.” she said. “I would totally buy one, but groceries are sooo expensive.”
UPDATE: Stay tuned for tomorrow when this crisis migrates to Facebook and morphs into an angry rant on the popular page “Living Financially Smarter in Israel”!
Jerusalem, Rasko: “After years of complaining about America, my cousins made Aliyah…. both the far-right and the far-left one!” gushed Jerusalem resident Chana N. “It all happened so fast, I didn’t even have time to ask them to bring me a suitcase full of Q-Tips, Montreal Spice, and Ziplocs.They arrived yesterday and immediately started their Aliyah blogs!”
Chana scrolled through her Facebook feed looking for each cousins’ posts. “Every time President Trump did something she didn’t like, my cousin Leora would write ‘That’s it! I can’t stay in America, I’m making Aliyah!‘ ….So far so good, right?”
“But with my other cousin, Miri, it was the exact same thing except it was Obama and Pelosi…. They’ve been saying it for years.”
Of course, when pressed about actually making Aliyah, each cited some vague excuses about ‘Parnasa’ and asked when Target and Amazon were going to start shipping to Israel. But after spending years as “Almost Olim“, America’s current Bi-Partisan Balagan helped make up their minds!
The Daily Freier reached both Leora and Miri on a Zoom call at their Quarantine Hotels. After politely listening to their gripes about the hotel food, we asked each woman why she made Aliyah: was it because of their Zionist ideals, a sense of religious duty, or were they escaping antisemitism? Miri chimed in. “First week of September my cousin in Israel is sending her kids to school and our old school district is closed! I’ll do anything to escape from a year of distance learning… Anything!”
In a show of solidarity and unity, both Leora and Miri vowed to wear their Nefesh B’ Nefesh hats until Moschiach arrives.
Tel Aviv: So we got good news and bad news. First, the good news. We met a recent arrival to Israel who is enthusiastic, refuses to quit, and determined to make it work here. The bad news is it’s the Corona Virus. The virus, who immigrated to Israel in late February and is named Rachel or Sarah, was kind enough to sit down with the Daily Freier at that cute cafe near Ben Yehuda that’s really popular with Olim.
“OMG I love it here!” enthused the virus. The Daily Freier asked the virus about her story. “So, like my family was originally from China, but then I just started traveling! It was so exciting! Europe! North America! It felt like I was on Gap Year!“
The Daily Freier asked the virus if it had any long-term goals in Israel. “I’m going to start my own NGO!” she replied. “It’s going to be like Taglit, except it will bring young infectious viruses to Israel! Isn’t this exciting?!! Imagine…. a virus riding a camel! Taking shots of Tubi! It just made out with the cute soldier from the bus! It’s got mud all over its body at the Dead Sea! ” (Later, we reluctantly had to admit that this idea wasn’t the dumbest piece of Israel Advocacy that we had ever heard of.)
Then the virus started to “spill tea” on life in Israel. “I hooked up with a Golani last week! We met at the beach!” Then the virus turned introspective. “But why isn’t he calling me? I mean, I got his text that he’s sick with a high fever. But is that just some kind of commitment issues bullshit? They say he’s in an isolation ward on his base, but I think he’s just ghosting me.“
As we got up to leave, the virus had one more question. “So when do I get my 750 Shekels from the Government for Covid Relief?“
UPDATE: There appears to be an End Date to the Corona Epidemic. After the Holidays, she’s going to get married and move to Ra’anana and then nobody will ever hear from her again.
Jerusalem: Today Nefesh B’Nefesh released unpredecedented news: in the past week not a single Oleh threatened to “move back to America“. Nefesh B’ Nefesh is an NGO dedicated to facilitating the Aliyah and success of Anglo Olim, a group that has earned a very unfair reputation of being a bunch of needy and entitled goofs. You see, it appears that Anglo, and especially American, Olim have a reputation for complaining. Anyhoo, for some weird reason, ZERO American Olim posted angry rants on Facebook or Aliyah Blogs about moving back this week, and nobody knows why. The Daily Freier pestered various Thought Leaders in the Olim Community until we got 500 words for our article.
First we spoke to Liami Lawrence, founder of Keep Olim in Israel, a Facebook community known for its calm discussions among Olim. “This is Amazing, and it’s all because of our incredible Counseling Services and job placement network! We finally did it!” he explained. The Daily Freier tried to argue that maybe some stuff might be happening in the United States that influenced this trend, but Liami had to cut the conversation short in order to moderate a post on Keep Olim’s Facebook page where someone was complaining about complainers and people were complaining about it.
The Daily Freier then stopped by Nefesh B’ Nefesh, and spoke to a Dati Leumi woman named Batsheva, Elisheva, or Just Sheva. “It’s all because of our A-Ma-Zing Tel Aviv Hub! Did you know we host beer making classes? Also, once we moved all the chairs and had a Zoomba class!” The Daily Freier countered that perhaps there might be some current events affecting the plans of American Olim, but she cut us off and handed out some pamphlets for their “Go North” program.
Finally, the Daily Freier checked in at the Misrad HaKlita, but the Security Guard told us to make an Online Appointment, so we will have an update some time in late July.
The Daily Freier looks forward to the upcoming surge of new immigrants from America, thus fulfilling our Nightmare Dystopian Fantasy of an Israel completely run by Anglo Olim.
Tel Aviv: The Israeli NGO “Keep Olim in Israel” celebrated tonight as the number of Olim (recent immigrants) leaving Israel has statistically reached Zero for the month of April. The Organization was founded several years ago in an attempt to help Olim acclimate to Israel. They even helped streamline Israel’s law for converting your foreign Drivers License. The Daily Freier spoke with Keep Olim founder Liami Lawrence via Zoom about this success.
“Nobody’s leaving!” enthused Liami. “It’s all because of our advocacy and the counseling services we provide!“
The Daily Freier asked Liami if maybe there was some other factor out there that was limiting the ability of Olim to make Yerida, but he refused the premise. “What are you talking about? This is all goes back to the line of candidates we ran in last year’s municipal elections!“
The Daily Freier pressed the point, that maybe there was perhaps another reason that people were no longer flying from Israel for the past few weeks. “No, No, No.” he replied. “Olim aren’t leaving because we have created an online community that supports one another!“
We asked Liami one more time if just maybe there might be something else telling Olim “Now youse can’t leave“, but he said he was right in the middle of an episode of Shtisel and ended the interview.
Live from Tel Aviv. This is like Satire and Stuff.