Oh hey there! Welcome to Tel Aviv University, located right here in the Start-up Nation! Just to get things started, take a good look at that statue on the First Floor. Franz Kafka! Wasn’t he cute??? Wait, where were we? Oh yeah, the Kafka statue? Check it out. Because believe it or not, your time here at TAU is going to be a bit like waking up in one of his novels every morning!
So back to Kafka. The themes in his books? We got them covered! Alienation? Yes! Trapped in an absurd bureaucracy that forces you to double back again and again without making any progress? Yes and Yes! Crushed by an unfeeling modernity? Yes and Yes and Yes! Transforming yourself into an insect? OK not so much, but still, you get the idea.
Wait, you want to sign up for classes outside of your program? Because you really can’t do that. Huh? You heard that you could? Where? the Student Guide to your program that you pulled from our webpage? Oh we don’t really look at that. It’s kind of like a “site map” or a “FAQ” or something. You know, something on the Internet that nobody ever really uses.
So that form you dropped off last week? You can have it back now. Because this really isn’t the right office for that stuff, you probably need to talk to the International Office about that. Wait…. they told you to come talk to us? OMG that doesn’t even make any sense!
But don’t worry, graduation is just around the corner! But no need to stress! Cuz when you do graduate, we’re going to send your diploma about a year or two later! And it’s going to look like it was typed up in Microsoft Word with a cute font and printed on paper from our office! Because it was!
You’re going to Love it Here!
(*Mad Props to the Artist Formerly Known As Alex Swinton for inspiring key paragraphs of this allegory.)
By Emily Goldstein & Mark Levy
Last Updated 12/22/2018 at 12:50 PM
Tel Aviv, Dizengoff Center: Hot Mobile announced that as of yesterday afternoon, it has screwed more recent immigrants to Israel than that really cute soldier on your Birthright bus who could also play guitar. The Daily Freier attended an emotional Press Conference at one of Hot’s kiosks in Dizengoff Center.
“This just means a lot to all of us.” announced Hot’s spokesperson Dorit H. “But now we have screwed more Olim than Danny, the soldier assigned to your Taglit group who wrote 5 poems to 6 girls, and showed 3 other girls the star constellations, ‘because the Negev sky is so clear at night’. We were going to announce it on our Website, but to be honest, we haven’t really updated it in a while, so why start now?”
Dorit wiped a tear from her eyes and continued. “The competition has been strong. Pelephone and Cellcom? Their contracts are also slightly harder to understand than Gemara, but slightly easier to escape from than an Iranian jail. But in the end, it was our blend of gaslighting, bait and switch, and just hanging up on customers that won out.”
The Daily Freier then asked Dorit if this amazing story had yet been picked up by any of the Big Names in Israeli Media “Of Course!” she replied. “Just last week the Jerusalem Post published a personal account of one Olah’s quest to try to get a refund for services she did not ask for but we charged her for anyway. You should read the whole thing! It’s like a mix of the boat trip in ‘Heart of Darkness’ and that Horror Movie ‘The Ring’. Except in this movie, nobody calls you back.”
When the Daily Freier challenged Dorit on some of the details of Hot’s Announcement, she told us to publicly Tweet our phone number to Hot’s Twitter account for a follow-up. Then she blocked us.
By Chava Ewa
Last Updated 11/25/2018 at 11:30 AM
Jerusalem, Givat Shaul: “They spelled Kif-Kef wrong! It’s fake chocolate! These are fake brand names from a fake store!” explained native Yerushalmi Yossi D as he recounted his experience of accidentally shopping in an “American store” in the city. “They’re imitations, but they’re clearly not fooling anyone! They spelled Kif-Kef wrong… it’s clear someone is trying to rip off our famous Israeli brands!” he admonished.
Yossi, who had a morning appointment in Givat Shaul to yell at a Maas HaChnasa clerk, was confused when he walked into a nearby grocery store. “I saw a rack of Tapuchips inside, so I thought I’d go in and buy a bag, but when I got closer, I saw that it wasn’t Tapuchips, it was some knockoff brand called “Lay’s” who had clearly copied the colors and logo of our famous Israeli chips. Do they think we’re stupid and don’t know the difference?”
Yossi then added “You know, every word comes from Hebrew. Give me a word, any word, and I show you how the root of that word is Hebrew.”
As the Daily Freier prepared to return to Tel Aviv on the High-Speed rail, Yossi asked us to help him carry 12 boxes of Uncle Moishy Cereal to his Sherut.
By Yekutiel Bornstein and Mark Levy
Last Updated 11/15/2018 at 3:00 PM
The Technion, Haifa: Scientists at Israel’s prestigious Technion are currently hard at work attempting to solve one of the World’s most intractable mysteries. Cold fusion? Nope, they’ve already found a source of renewable energy. The mystery of the weird posts on popular community page Secret Tel Aviv? Nope, they’ve solved that too! Trying to figure out why the Homeland of the Jewish People still has not even made a bagel as good as….. ummm… Dunkin Donuts? Yes! And in terms of “Problems facing self-absorbed Ashkenazi Olim from North America“, this situation is basically our Code-Red Alert. So it makes sense that the greatest scientific minds in the Jewish world would seek to tackle this problem. The Daily Freier went up to Haifa to figure out just how we will solve this Crisis.
The project’s lead scientist, Dr. Shmuel C. greeted the Daily Freier and quickly ushered us into their experimental “Bagel Lab“, which looked a lot like a Queens, New York bakery circa 1981, complete with linoleum floors, fluorescent lights, and a set of bells on the door that jingled when you opened it. In fact, just to really nail the whole effect, they built a Carvel Ice Cream shop in the adjoining lab. “We know that the Startup Nation can bring a good bagel to Israel.” explained Dr. Shmuel. “I mean, how hard could this possibly be? Look, we built a high-speed rail line already and it will take you non-stop from Jerusalem to….wait…. never mind…but still, we got this!”
The Daily Freier then sampled some of the prototypes, and they were just as good as any bagel we’ve had so far in Israel, meaning they tasted like the foam from your couch cushion dipped in sesame seeds. “Do you like it?” asked Dr. Shmuel. “The same expert who designed this prototype previously helped McDonalds-Israel Division attain their amazing tasting burgers!” Or course he did.
Trying to lend a hand, the Daily Freier asked Dr. Shmuel some questions about their process: “So when you boil the bagel before you…..” but he quickly cut us off and said “Wait…..Boil the bagel before you bake it? That doesn’t even make any sense.”
By Mark Levy and Yuval Weiss
Last Updated 10/19/2018 at 6:00 PM
Tel Aviv, Derech Menachem Begin: Today the Start-Up Nation’s Ministry of the Interior revealed its new slogan: “Better than a Saudi Consulate!“, reminding its customers that despite long lines, unannounced closures, and indifferent service…… your chances of getting taken out by a Saudi hit squad are extremely low. The Daily Freier attended a press conference at their Tel Aviv office after receiving a press invite via fax.
“We are very proud of our customer service standards.” explained Ministry of the Interior spokesperson Nava K. “After negotiations between our Union and the Government broke down last week, we staged an unannounced work slowdown…. But Hey! All of our customers survived! Only in Israel!”
The Daily Freier asked Nava if, much like Israeli carrier El Al, the Ministry was perhaps suffering from low expectations. But she was insistent. “If Mr. Khashoggi had come to our office instead of the Istanbul Consulate, he would still be alive! Of course, he might not have gotten service yet because our computer skipped the number he had taken from the kiosk…. but one should not be too picky. Welcome to Israel!”
As the Press Conference came to an end, Nava announced that the Interior Ministry has begun an Efficiency Campaign for speedier customer service….. led by experts from Israel’s High Speed Rail network.
By Mark Levy
Last Updated 10/19/2018 at 6:00 PM
Jerusalem Navon Station: There were cheers and celebrations today in Start-Up Nation after a High Speed Train came, like, “this close” to making the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem run quicker than a “very fast” sherut. You see, the High Speed rail is something that Israel is quite proud of. Even though it took 18 years to build just 50 kilometers of line. And you have to switch trains at the Airport. And the first leg is on a normal train. And you are supposed to make reservations on line. But they don’t check. And the train drops you in the Jerusalem railroad station approximately 3 Gazillion meters underground. And the escalator ride to the top lasts longer than some Tel Aviv relationships. But anyhoo, today the ride was extra fast. So fast in fact that there were moments when it appeared that the train might overtake the Sherut (a shared minibus taxi) that had left Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station at the same time that the train had left Tel Aviv’s Savidor Station. The Daily Freier went up to Jerusalem to get all the facts.
“We are quite proud of our High Speed rail’s performance today.” explained Israel Rail spokesperson Sarit K. “Our riders got here almost as quickly as people who rode in a van from the 1980’s.” Sarit continued. “In addition, we feel it isn’t very fair to make the comparison. I mean, we were up against Moti, one of their more aggressive Sherut drivers.” Sarit dropped her voice to a whisper. “I heard that he didn’t even stop at all of the red lights either.“
The Daily Freier asked Sarit if maybe High Speed Rail would aim for a higher metric than beating a minibus. “Today we almost beat a Sherut. Who knows, maybe in 2019 we will almost beat the Number 480 Bus.”
UPDATE: In an effort to make their High Speed Rail even more competitive with traditional forms of mass transit, Israel Rail announced that all trains will now play tinny high-pitched Israeli music from the 1970’s out of busted out speakers, display a weathered photo of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on the dashboard, and have an old compact disc hanging from the conductor’s rear view mirror.
By Chava Ewa
Last Updated 9/14/2018 at 1:00 PM
Ramat Beit Shemesh: Israelis are performing their annual ritual of forgiving those who have transgressed against them. Yet there are some things they just can’t forgive. Roger Waters? Sheikh Nasrallah? That Idiot from Code Pink? No, No, No. We’re talking something much more serious: the Customer Service Behemoth known as Amazon, which gave Israelis free shipping for a few days and then took it away from them. The Daily Freier spoke to one of Amazon’s victims to hear her story of betrayal and loss.
“It’s been a difficult year.” explained Rivky G, an immigrant from New Jersey. “I’ve had PTSD (Post-Target Stress Disorder), you know, from Target’s Chillul HaShem last year.” Rivky, like so many of her Ramat Beit Shemesh neighbors, had her Target orders cancelled a year ago. “It wasn’t just that I didn’t get my Pumpkin Spice k-cups, it’s the principle of the matter! They make promises and then the deal just disappears! Who do they think they are? Golan Telecom?”
“I could never forgive them.” Rivky complained. “It was Erev Yom Kippur and I had forgiven my crooked landlord, my roommate who chipped my iPad screen and even that rotten boyfriend who cheated on me with some frecha from work. But this was too much! And seriously, they should have begged for mechila properly.” Rivky was crestfallen and resolved never to trust anyone ever again.
The Daily Freier then reached out to Rivky’s native Israeli coworker Anat for further perspective on this ongoing tragedy. “It was cool to see her all cynical and jaded.” she chuckled. “All of a sudden, Rivky began to suspect that everyone was out to cheat her and lie to her. She would yell at everyone…. ‘I think you’re lying! I’m not a freier!’…. she said it so convincingly, you know, like a real Israeli. I was so proud of her.” It seemed that, sof sof, Rivky had learned the secret to being Israeli.
But then it happened… Amazon. “I heard about this free shipping promotion and I couldn’t risk missing out, so I made an order… just one.” Rivky said. “OK, maybe more than one, but not like a lot of orders which would cripple the Israeli postal system or anything.” And then the inevitable happened. Amazon, like Target, had miscalculated Israelis’ appetite for American products and stopped its shipping promotion. “I can’t believe I fell for it.” Rivky cried. “Now I need my parents to visit me so they can bring everything I ordered online for Chanukah…. Oh and also Ziplocs. Next time I hear of another American company offering free shipping, I won’t trust them… never ever!… not a chance!… ummm… I mean, unless it’s like something really good?”