Naftali Bennett and the Mafdal’s last hurrah

Those of us who really believe Moshe Feiglin can and will lead Israel and the Jewish Nation to liberty by becoming Prime Minister have this refrain. We always say that we’re not trying to lead the Dati Leumi, or the Religious Zionist sector. We are not a sector, we do not believe in sectors, and we try to speak to the Jewish nation qua nation and leave sectors aside. We want to lead everyone and free everyone. Not lead a sector and try to cut off a hunk of publicly funded steak and bring it home to a ravenous constituency starved for tax-funded whatevers.

But even those of us with our eye on the ball sometimes lose focus for a second and get sucked back into the “sector” that we supposedly “came from,” which in most cases is the Religious Zionist sector, the srugim, or whatever you want to call them.

We see in the polls that Naftali Bennett has totally revived the old Mafdal. He’s a new exciting guy, served in Tzahal as commander of a bunch of important stuff and did heroic things and whatnot just like Ehud Barak of the new up-and-coming then out-and-going Atzmaut (literally, “Forget Labor”) Party. He was a highly successful career man and made a skrillion dollars just like Yair Lapid of the new up-and-coming and soon to be out-and-going Yesh Lapid (literally “There is Lapid”) Party. Or was it two skrillion? I don’t remember exactly. And he can talk oh…soooo…smoothly…in perfect American English…with a perfect American accent…that’s so seductive…just like…

Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mafdal, or Bayit Yehudi, or whatever you want to call it, might get a bunch of seats. Maybe 10. Maybe 15. Maybe 20. It doesn’t make the least bit of difference. Why? Because Naftali Bennett is nothing but a new Netanyahu with a kippah on. He has no conviction about anything but he can talk as if he almost does. For example, he can say contradictory things like, “A soldier should never have to choose between expelling a human being from his home and disobeying orders,” and then end it with, “A soldier should never disobey orders under any circumstances,” and state both mutually contradictory statements together with the same conviction, thereby effectively saying absolutely nothing, but making people think he has.

And then, as if he didn’t contradict himself at all, he’ll go on in the very next sentence and challenge his twin, Benjamin Netanyahu, to state publicly if he plans on expelling people from their homes again or not, as if trying to fork another politician will take the attention away from the fact that he’s trying to have his cake and eat it too as well. Well, Bennett, my little Bibi with a Kippah, if he does, what will you do? All you’ve told us is you hope it won’t happen. But what will you do? Support private property or support immoral orders?

Bennett’s long term plan is genius. Get this: He wants to wait for the Arabs to “calm down”. Of course this isn’t what Israel has already been doing since Oslo. Inspiring. That’s it! They have to “calm down”! Why didn’t we think of this before! When I think of Jewish History and our job on this planet and the reason we came back to Israel after millenia of exile, I think of Arabs “calming down,” and when I picture calm Arabs, I get this kind of religious messianic zeal. Thanks Bennett. You have a very nice kippah and a cool buzz cut.

And his slogan: “Something new is beginning.” Yes, something new indeed. Bibi now has a kippah. That’s new. And the new Bibi  says right wing sounding rhetoric without committing to any actual positions and wants to wait things out until the Arabs “calm down”. New Indeed.

Now, back to why it makes absolutely no difference how many seats the Mafdal gets. It doesn’t matter because the only interesting thing that is going to come out of this Knesset will be the Knesset speeches and Knesset actions of Moshe Feiglin from within the Likud slate. He’s going to be in the Knesset. Nothing can stop that. Likud isn’t going down to 20 seats under any circumstances. From that podium, from that pulpit, Feiglin will speak about liberty and Jewish values and Jewish leadership. And the Jewish Nation will listen. And he’ll say actual things that don’t contradict themselves. And when Netanyahu tries to do something stupid, he will fight tooth and nail and probably get sanctioned in some way or another, and he won’t be invited into Bibi’s little circle, and if he is named as a Minister he may get fired, and if he doesn’t get fired and Bibi tries to expel someone from their home, he’ll resign, and it’ll be great.

Moshe Feiglin won’t have to pull stupid political tricks like asking the “Prime Minister” from a press conference if he intends to expel Jews from their homes or not. He will be able to fight it and embarrass Bibi from within the Likud itself if he does. Bennett will be able to do absolutely nothing but yell. He won’t pull out of the government because he’ll fear someone from the Left will take his place. So in the end he’ll do nothing and say things like “I wish soldiers wouldn’t have to choose between expelling Jews and following orders boo hoo.”

Meanwhile, while Bennett pouts and stays in the coalition posing no threat to Bibi whatsoever, Feiglin will be fighting from the inside and setting the stage for his next run at the Likud leadership.

So in the end, whether Bennett has 10 or 20 seats makes no difference. He’ll stay in the government just like every other Mafdal incarnate has over the history of the sector. Sometimes we Feiglinites forget that we are not in a sector and we are not trying to get sectoral votes for our party. We are not after “Dati Leumi” votes. We don’t want the Dati Leumi all suddenly joining Likud and filling out membership forms. We don’t want the Likud to be a sector. We don’t want to turn the Likud into the Mafdal. We want to lead the nation. That means we are after the votes of people who believe in the nation, not their sector.

Someone who feels they are part of the Dati Leumi sector more than they are part of the Jewish Nation as a whole should not vote Likud. Someone who feels that they are part of the nation should vote Likud, regardless of what kippah he (or she) wears or if he even wears one at all.

When all is said and done, the Nation will hear Feiglin speak softly, like he did yesterday, that he supports anyone who refuses orders on moral grounds, left or right, as he always has. Bennett will be screaming at a wall as he continually says nothing.

Bennett will speak loudly. Feiglin will speak softly as he always does, but this time he will carry the big stick. Let the votes fall where they may, and let the Jewish People separate the leaders from the politicians. Once they do, it will be clear. This is Mafdal’s last hurrah.


Is the federal government going to bail out the twinkie?

Hostess, the brand that makes Twinkies and Wonder Bread, is closing down. And it looks like the interventionists are clamoring for a company that is $16,000,000,000,000 in debt to bail out a company that is $1,000,000,000 in debt. From the LA Times:

Ding Dong despair manifested itself in a myriad of ways over the weekend as Americans came to realize that Hostess Brands Inc. as they know it is likely no more.

A petition went up online asking President Obama to nationalize the Twinkie industry and “prevent our nation from losing her creamy center.” Organizers hope to gain 25,000 signatures by Dec. 16. So far, they have less than 3,500.

You know why they went bankrupt? Unions.

Recipes for homemade Twinkies began emerging online. The spongy cakes went up for sale on Craigslist and Ebay for thousands of dollars a box.

It was the kind of outpouring Hostess wished it had generated before throwing in the towel Friday. The company blamed a union walkout on its decision to close.

Of course, if we don’t bail out the Twinkie, I’m sure the entire financial system will collapse or something like that. Why don’t we just bail out everything and that way no one will go bankrupt ever and we’ll all be in a giant Soviet Style Utopia with price-controlled Twinkies for all?

The saddest thing, though, is that the plot of Zombieland can’t fit anymore. (Woody Harrelson spends the whole movie looking for twinkies in a post apocalyptic America where everyone’s a zombie, also starring that guy from The Social Network. Great movie. Highly recommended. Cameo appearance by Bill Murray. The best Zombie movie ever made.)

In a true Jewish state, healthcare would be freed from state control

It never ceases to amaze me how freedom is the answer to everything, and how state control is the source of every problem. I was watching a youtube video about medical cannabis – marijuana – which is legal here in Israel but always teetering on the edge of being outlawed. One of the biggest problems is that doctors do not want to prescribe it very often for two reasons. First, they fear that if they’re too lenient, they will be singled out by the State health ministry and crucified. This happened to the doctor of Moshe Feiglin’s father while he (Feiglin’s father) was dying of cancer. Marijuana helped him greatly with cancer pain after Dr. Johnny prescribed it. Later Dr. Johnny was attacked by the State for prescribing it too much to people who didn’t fit the exact criteria, and Feiglin came to his defense. That’s when the whole Feiglin-legalize-pot thing started. You can read the article here.

But more importantly, doctors have a financial incentive not to prescribe medical marijuana. Why? Because drug companies often donate to hospitals and have a very large effect on any given doctor’s career. The more they prescribe medications made by those companies, the better off they’ll be financially.

Any statist who believes in government force will look at that factoid and come to the conclusion that the State should outlaw pharmaceutical companies from donating to hospitals, or whatever they do to give doctors incentives to prescribe their drugs. But this is not the answer. In order to understand the answer, you have to understand the source of the problem.

The source of the problem is State-controlled health care.

When a patient goes to see a doctor, it’s free, or in the best case, extremely heavily subsidized. Doctors get no money from patients. Their money comes from the government. If they prescribe a medication, the government pays for it. If someone gets sick, they get a form from the government which gives them permission to go see a doctor of the government’s choosing. No doctor can compete with any other doctor for patients (AKA customers), and none of the doctors care, because regardless of how many patients they see or whether they heal them or not, their salaries do not change, unless they go on strike and protest the government.

Why would any doctor under a state controlled health care system want to prescribe marijuana to a patient when it doesn’t earn him any extra than prescribing him some expensive drug from Teva? Why would a doctor even want to learn about medical marijuana when there’s no incentive to be a better doctor?

The answer is to free the health care system and have doctors and hospitals compete with each other. In a true Jewish State, health care would be subject to the free market. If doctors started getting their money not from the State, but from the customers – their patients – then they’d have every incentive in the world to make their patients feel good and heal them. Say you have one doctor prescribing a cancer patient chemotherapy and some pharmaceutical drug, vicodin or whatever, to lessen the pain. Vicodin is expensive and the customer – not the government – pays for it. Say it doesn’t work and the cancer patient is vomiting all the time and living in hell. He will not be happy with his doctor and he will stop paying the doctor and he will stop buying the vicodin and the doctor will have a bad reputation because all his cancer patients feel like hell.

Say there’s another doctor that prescribes medical marijuana to his cancer patients, and it’s cheap and it works. His patients will be happy because they’re paying for the marijuana and it’s cheap so they continue to pay the doctor, and other customers – cancer patients – will go to him instead of the vicodin doctor who prescribes an expensive drug that does nothing.

It won’t matter at all if the vicodin companies are paying the bad doctor extra to prescribe the vicodin, because he won’t have any patients left to prescribe anything to in the first place.

The best doctors who heel people the best with the cheapest stuff will make the most money and have the most patients. The ones who have patients buying expensive drugs that don’t work and want to die from the pain will go out of business.

Drug companies want state controlled health care. It allows them to control the system and get rich by creating bad products. In a free market, they’d have no unfair influence. The good drugs they produce will be bought. The bad ones will not. They’ll have to compete just like everyone else.

Freedom solves everything.

Gaza war round 17 shows that the IDF should be privatized

I don’t intend to deal with all the objections to a private army in this post, and there are many. We’ll save that for later. But Cast Lead II or whatever they’re calling it demonstrates very clearly the problems with a publicly funded army on many fronts, and how privatization would solve all of them.

First of all, a public army has its hands tied by politicians, who have their hands tied by other politicians who have no interest in the safety of people in Be’er Sheva or Sderot or wherever. Netanyahu and the rest of our political wise men are now lobbying Obama and the EU and all the other thugs who have nothing at all to do with any of this, to try and get us permission to go to war. So a public IDF, controlled by politics, cannot do its job and defend Jews efficiently.

If the army were a private company, or several different private companies protecting each city, they would not need permission from politicians to do whatever they needed to do to get the rockets to stop. Their hands could not be tied because their money would not be coming from taxes and certainly not foreign aid, and foreign politicians would not be able to control a private company in a different country.

As it stands now, the residents of the south have no recourse because they cannot threaten the army owners with bankruptcy if they fail. Their budget is paid whether they succeed or fail in protecting their residents, and they cannot be sued if they fail. If the army were private, they could be sued for damages for every rocket they allow into the territory under their protection. In order not to be put out of business in a hurry, they’d need to respond with amazingly terrifying force to get the rockets to stop within hours or even minutes.

A private army paid for voluntarily by citizens would be directly responsible to its consumers, not to politicians. It would not allow Arabs to even get their hands on any rockets for the threat of making them lose business when those rockets fly.

It would act fast, it would be ruthless, and it would be efficient as hell.

A public army, even a very good one like the IDF, is necessarily slow, hands tied, measured in its response, not accountable to its patrons, and inefficient as hell. A private army would have killed Ahmed Jabari a long, long time ago. A private army would have paid off the Gazan Arabs to leave decades ago so none of this would be happening.

A private army in charge of protection of the south would not let food, water, electricity, or UN relief workers into Gaza at any time. A private army could have never expelled the Jews from Gaza in 2005. If the army were a private institution, there would not be over 1 million Arabs in Gaza. No private company would live with that kind of a threat to their business.

The business of a public army controlled by politicians is war.

The business of a private army controlled by its customers is peace.

Why I’m voting for Daniel Tauber for Knesset

I hate the idea of voting for anyone. I hate voting in general. It makes me feel like a criminal, because I know that whoever I vote for will think that he has some sort of mandate to use other people’s hard earned money to buy off more votes to get more power to use even more of other people’s hard earned money and then claim that he’s helping the economy by doing so all the while having other people fund his car and gas bill. (Who funds mine?)

The only laws I support are the ones that make it illegal for the government to do something it would otherwise try to do. Whether it’s destroy someone else’s private property – Arab or Jew – steal someone’s money through borrowing or printing or taxing, or anything else it tries to do. In other words, I only vote for politicians that promise to at least limit, and at best destroy, the very system that feeds them. I vote for infiltrators who vow to cut and destroy government. Not politicians who vow to feed on it and give me some of the scraps they feed on.

If it were up to me, I’d vote for Moshe Feiglin and no one else. He is the only one who cannot be corrupted.

But I have to vote for 12 people, or my vote for Feiglin does not count. So the other 11 people I will have to vote for will only be extensions of my vote for Feiglin.

I’m not voting for Tauber because he speaks English or I need an Anglo to represent my Anglo interests in Knesset. Anglos have no interests any more than anyone else has an interest in keeping his money and property, and I don’t care what language you speak. I’d put an Iranian or North Korean or an Arab in the Knesset if I was convinced he’d protect my money and property. Heck, I’m probably voting for a guy named Jihad (seriously) a Druze with a huge mustache.

I’m also not voting for Tauber because I think he’s incorruptible. If he makes it into Knesset, God willing, and Bibi leans on him to vote for destroying someone else’s private property, he’ll resist, and he’ll resist hard, but eventually he will break if his career at spending other people’s money is at stake. It’s just a sense I have from talking to him. He wants to protect me, but I know he can’t when push comes to shove.

I’m voting for him because he will be a good soldier in Feiglin’s army. That I sense, too. His heart is pointed in the right direction. It’s not in the right place yet, but unlike most politicians, at least it’s pointing to the right place.

Honestly, Tauber would be a very good soldier, better than any of the other 11 kleptomaniacs I’ll be voting for, with the possible exception of Yariv Levin, who I don’t like, but I almost like him, which says a lot.

When Feiglin is in charge, Tauber will be ready to join in, and he’ll be on the front lines. That’s why I’m voting for him, and for no other reason.

The “keeping track of government” problem

Watching a video of Lawrence O’Donnell being interviewed by the WeAreChange people about the NDAA and Obama’s kill list. They were asking him something about how he supports Obama if he has a kill list consisting of American citizens and their usual attack line of questions. He says, “I can’t keep track of everything the government does.”

Then it sort of hit me. Why should anyone be expected to keep track of what the government does? Why should this be necessary? The bigger government gets, the less people will be able to track it to see if it is being tyrannical or not, and the next thing you know you’re a total slave and they’re taking your property.

The only reason that it’s necessary to manually keep track of government activities is that money is not an issue. The government can just take or print the money it needs to function, so not only is efficiency unnecessary, but so is internal oversight. Nobody “needs” to keep track of what Apple or Priceline or IBM is doing, because the companies themselves need to keep track of what they’re doing or they’ll lose money. If they steal from someone, that someone should take the company to court. Every transaction a private company has is subject to market regulation, and therefore no one needs to keep an eye on them. The only reason anyone would need to know what Apple is doing is if he wants to invest in the company. If Apple wants investors, they’ll have to be honest. If they lie, they’ll lose investors and money.

But government needs no investors and is not subject to market forces, since they rely on threats and force. That’s why you need outside watchdogs funded by watchdog groups to keep an eye on government. The watchdogs aren’t investing in government. They’re using resources to make sure it doesn’t screw anyone over, because the market itself cannot.

In a free society, there would be no need to see what the government is doing, or to keep track of it. Everything would be subject to market regulation, and everything would be totally decentralized. Problems would be dealt with as they come up, and you’d spot them whenever the price of something falls or rises too fast.

The maddening thing about Moshe Kahlon

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It looks like Moshe Kahlon, the popular and vaunted Likud Minister of Communications, will be the second consecutive Likud Central Committee Chairman to leave the party looking for more power. The first one, Tzahi Hanegbi who left to Kadima and was charged with handing out jobs to cronies and nearly convicted of perjury, is now back in Likud because Kadima has entirely crashed. He’s looking for a slot on Likud’s Knesset roster.

But that’s not what’s so maddening. After all, corrupt gangsters are all over the political spectrum peeking their heads in and out of political crevices looking for a slice of tax money. I am a voting Likud party member, and I don’t care all that much that Hanegbi is coming back. I simply won’t vote for him. What’s maddening is the reason that Kahlon is popular and polling 27 Knesset seats if he runs with former Kadima Diva Tzipi Livni, another Likud defector.

The only reason that Kahlon is popular is that I, an Israeli citizen with a cell phone, only have to pay 20 shekels a month for good service now instead of 400. Why is that? Because Kahlon, in a fit of what must have been Divine Inspiration, decided that he, as Communications Czar of Israel, would just let the market be, get out of the way, and do absolutely nothing.

Quite literally, the best thing he did for Israel was to say that he would no longer forbid any company that wants to enter the communications market to do so. He decided he would no longer protect big business with government threats. He decided, in effect, that there was no need for a Communication Minister at all. And voila! More companies sprung up offering much lower prices, and the whole country now benefits from the free market in cell phones. (Or at least much freer.)

But what makes me want to put my head in my hands and weep “Oy Gevalt!” is that the country has no idea what Kahlon did or why it worked. The entire media is describing Kahlon now as an economic socialist, and that it was socialism and ingenious government regulation policies that fixed the cell phone market. All the people know is that Kahlon went into office and then the cell phone bills went down, so they all love him.

And the worst part is, Kahlon himself doesn’t understand why he succeeded. He really IS a socialist, into the welfare state idea and all that. He just happened to have a flash of genius once and did something totally libertarian, totally unsocialistic, by getting government out of the market and just letting it function. Now he thinks he knows how to fix everything with government, and Israel believes him and will vote for him to do just that.

He’ll take that mandate, try to tinker with the free market somewhere, and the people will be disappointed, his party will crash, and he and everyone who goes with him will come crying back to the Likud, as they all do. Even Avigdor Liberman came from the Likud way back when, and now he’s back too.

All government has to do is get out of the way and leave everyone alone as much as possible. It doesn’t take Kahlon-ic genius to do that.

Gidon Sa’ar and the den of education slaves

I went to a Likud event last night hosted by the head of the local Likud branch in Karnei Shomron in his home. He wanted me to show up so there would be bodies at the event, and I happen to have one of those. I’m technically on some board of something or other involving the local Likud branch, which means me and the Likud leadership structure are like Dark Helmet and Lonestar. Father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommates, which makes us absolutely nothing, but that’s more than most people.

I was dreading this event because the guest of honor was Gidon Sa’ar, that random guy who happened to get a few hundred votes more than the next random guy who in consequence was given the right by the Prime Minister to run the entire education system funded by coercive force and run as efficiently as a Hummer with a lead chassis stuck in first gear with the handbrake engaged and leaking fuel.

He comes in, tells us all about his wonderful accomplishments, and I’m surrounded by every head of the various bits and pieces of the totalitarian education regime in my region. After Sa’ar is done aweing us with his amazing display of managerial educational prowess, then the slave fest begins.

Everyone starts begging Sa’ar for tax money. Going on and on about how their school is missing a roof or is leaking poison gas or both and it’s hard for the children to learn the required state curriculum because they keep having to dodge bird droppings from the sky and it’s hard to concentrate while wearing a gas mask. So please oh Master Sa’ar can we please have 5 shekels of tax money so we can spread a sheet over the school and plug up the poison gas leak with a wad of chewing gum? We can’t afford the gum without your help.

I don’t know exactly what everyone was begging for in specific, but it may as well have been that. I couldn’t possibly pay attention because I was jumping out of my skin at the time. All words ran together and I stopped trying to decode it. At a certain concentration of slavery, I just stop processing.

I wanted to pick up these people by their collars and scream, “Why do you all have to beg like slaves towards this man to fund your obviously crappy schools? Get rid of the entire ministry of education, free yourselves, run your schools like businesses, and the best ones will survive and the worst ones will die! Just like any other industry!”

Every time there is a regime change the curriculum changes. If the left wins, everyone has to learn about the Nakba. If the right wins, everyone has to go to Hevron and the Ma’arat HaMachpelah. Why can’t there just be plain and simple freedom? Schools should do what they want to do, respond to supply and demand, teach what they want to teach and parents will send where they want to send, or not, no one will pay any taxes to fund any education system and all the money will go back to the people. Those who want to learn about the Nakba will go to that kind of school. Those that want to learn about the Cave and Hevron will go to that kind of school.

There would be no argument about whether to “recognize” Ariel “University Center” or not because there’d be no public money involved. No Hilonim would complain that the Haredim are not learning basic State requirements, because there wouldn’t be any. No Haredim would complain that the State is making them do whatever because it wouldn’t. Everyone could live in peace and harmony, learning and teaching whatever they wanted to learn and teach. Instead of the bad schools getting more money, they’d get less. Instead of the good schools getting less money, they’d get more.


I got a call yesterday from Gidon Sa’ar’s office asking if I intend to vote for him.

“Probably not,” I said. I just can’t bring myself to do it.

A bank story from the past

I wrote this 4 years ago before we were married. As true today as it was even before it was written. Before you begin, be aware that we currently have an account at Discount that we have been trying to close for 6 months, sitting there accruing Shas child welfare stipends I refuse to touch, so instead I just gave them to Feiglin’s Knesset election campaign yesterday. We now have an account at Bank Yahav, a tiny nothing pisher bank we use as little as financially possible.

Now let’s go back to 2008…

There are three major banks in Israel. Bank Discount. Bank Leumi. And Bank Hapoalim. They’re all really, really bad. A combination of incompetence, greed, robbery, redundancy, and incompetence have congealed themselves in these banks to create a new level of grossness. If you’ve ever moved your oven to see the kind of decades-old sludge of thousands of uneaten meals that’s behind it that you have to clean with oven cleaner that’s so corrosive that even the idea of it touching your skin will burn you like Holy Water assuming you’re Satan and it still won’t go away, that sludge is like these banks, but at least you can eat the sludge if you’re starving to death. But not if you’ve already sprayed it with oven cleaner.

We will begin with Bank Hapoalim. Bank Hapoalim, in order to protect its customers from fraud and signature forgery, steals from said customers by committing fraud based on the assumption of signature forgery. Case in point, about a month ago, when we signed the lease for an apartment, we had to give the landlord a check for a certain amount of money. The check was signed. A few days later, said landlord is notified that the check was refused. Hapoalim has this policy that any refused check costs the account holder and the recipient a 20 shekel fine. Therefore, we are fined 40 shekels, for we will have to pay the landlord back the money that Hapoalim stole from him as well.

We call the bank. We are told that her signature does not perfectly match the signature she had 3 years ago. This is very dangerous, because if her signature changes slightly, that could mean someone is trying to forge it. Thank God for Bank Hapoalim. She is told to go into the bank to “change” her signature. She does so. She finds out the next day that the check has been refused again. Another 40 shekels – BAM! And more security! We are saved from theft! She calls the bank again. They tell her to come in and change her signature. She says she DID that. They say, “Oh, yeah. It’ll go through next time.”

She finds out that it was refused. Again. Another 40 shekels! WAP! Is security tight at Hapoalim? Is a frog’s butt watertight? Not as watertight as Bank Hapoalim! “Hapoalim – Where security is so tight, not even our customers can get past it.”

She asks about the fees. She is told that “Nothing can be done.” Of course not. The money was rightfully stolen. How could such a question be asked?

Back to Discount. “Discount – We specialize in turning your potential banking card into a paperweight.”

Bank Discount calls me. They want to know if I want a credit card. This is funny, because I have no income yet. But I don’t tell them this, because they’re going to send me one anyway, and I’m betting on the fact that it won’t work, just like the PIN they sent me months earlier. I say, “Sure, whatever, credit card.”

Sure enough, they send me the credit card. They want me to dial *6111 to activate it with the PIN number they sent me. I do that. I put in my ID number. I put in the PIN number. It doesn’t work. I do it again. It doesn’t work. I deliberate between, on the one hand, talking to a person, who will probably send me to a branch to get the problem sorted out, who will probably redirect me when I get there to the *6111 hotline for malfunctioning PIN numbers, who will probably charge me 20 shekels for using the hotline twice in a month. I decide not to bother. I cut up the credit card and throw it out and burn the remains with thermite plasma. I don’t actually burn the remains. But it would have been cool. A few weeks later I get a call.

“We see that you have not activated the credit card we sent you. Would you like us to activate it?”
“No, I would not like you to activate the card.”
“May I ask why not?”
“Because I destroyed the card.”
“Oh, may I ask why?”
“No. But I’ll tell you anyway. You would not let me activate the card.”
“So do you want us to cancel the card?”
“No, I want you to activate a card that doesn’t exist. Of course I want you to cancel the card.”
“OK, so we will cancel the card.”

A week later I get a letter that says I am charged 2 shekels for canceling a credit card.

“Israel Discount Bank – We discount the amount of money in your account for reasons WE can’t even understand.”

OK. On to Leumi. Now this one’s a real kicker. It happened nearly two years ago (6 now in 2012), when Natasha became a student. She was advised that, since she had student status and was exempt from all bank theft, to open accounts at all the banks to see which one was the least grotesque. So one of the bank accounts she opened was at Leumi. She goes there 2 years ago to put money into her account, which is what one usually does when one has said account in said bank. They inform her that there is a “problem” with the account, and she should see the front desk. She sees the front desk, who tells her the problem will be fixed and to come in some time later. She comes in that some time later to try to put money in her account. She is told that there is still a glitch and the computer will not allow money to be put into the account. She goes back to the person who deals with this stuff, who says they are trying to fix the problem. She says that she would much rather just close the account, because she has other accounts that actually sort of work.

The lady does not let her close the account.
Natasha insists. The lady insists that she will not close the account for her. This goes on for maybe 10 minutes.
She says fine, whatever, and leaves.

2 years later, about 2 weeks ago now, she gets a call from Bank Leumi. They insist that Natasha now owes them 80 shekels in fees. She tells them:
A) I have student status
B) I was not allowed to put money into the bank
C) I was not allowed to close the account
D) You people are completely insane, and I’m not paying anything

The guy on the phone says he “Doesn’t see why she can’t close the account.” That’s because he’s reading off of a paper like a telemarketer, probably. He insists that she pay the fees. She insists that she will not pay any of the damn fees. He says to come in to close the account, and then she responds, on my insistence, by hanging up the expletive phone.

“Leumi – The bank that’s actually a front for a drug-smuggling ring.”

(The good news is that Leumi called back a few weeks later and said that it was their fault, that she has student status, and is exempt from all theft. The account, however, remains open.)

The Cup that will Change Your Life

Why have I never heard of the menstrual cup?

Even though there may be better options out there, companies are always trying to make a profit and will push those products that make them the most  money. The menstrual cup does not fit into the category of profitable relative to the pads and tampons to which we are accustomed. Therefore, it disappeared leaving us women with disposable products that we were forced to buy over and over.

Why has it reappeared today?

1) The internet has allowed all sorts of alternative products to be marketed worldwide very easily

2) People are starting to be “greener”

3) People are looking for ways to be more frugal in today’s economy

4) People recognize this product as superior and tell their friends

What is the Menstrual Cup?

It’s a reusable silicone cup that collects menstrual flow as opposed to absorbing it.

How is it used?

Watch and learn how to insert and remove:

After removal, wipe with toilet paper and insert again. After the final removal, sterilize with soap/water/alcohol. Store in included bag. Sterilize again before using at the onset of the next cycle.


Small: for younger girls and women who haven’t given birth vaginally

Large: older women over 30 and/or women who have given birth vaginally

Why the cup is superior to conventional products:

1) It’s cleaner. It keeps the mess to a minimum. No leaking if inserted properly since it is suctioned in.

2) More convenient. No need to shop for more products all the time. No need to look through your bag and remember to bring something into the bathroom and make sure that you keep it hidden. Plus it collects more so you  will need to change it less often (I drain it 2-3 times a day)

3) More comfortable. No one likes sitting in their own blood. You can’t even feel it if it is inserted properly.

4) It’s safer. No risk of TSS. It’s silicone. Also there are no chemicals and bleach involved which there are in conventional products.

5) It can be used before flow starts. I hated waiting for it to start and not knowing if there was a huge stain. For observant Jews, you become niddah whenever you see it, so if you have it in already and choose not to see it until right before shkia, it can save you a few hours if that matters to you.

6) It saves money and better for environment. What will you do with the money you save?

7) May even shorten the cycle by a day. The last day when barely anything comes out but it isn’t quite clean, this is when it is essentially over but the walls are not completely clean yet. The cup keeps the walls clean meaning you won’t need to wait that extra day. For observant Jews, this may mean sheva neki’im could start earlier. For observant Jews who are having trouble conceiving due to a shorter cycle (halachic infertility), the cup could be your answer if you are just missing ovulation by a day.

What are the disadvantages?

Please let me know if you find one. I really can’t think of any. OK, maybe if you lose it and need to buy another one. Maybe if you are so fertile or not fertile at all that you never get a period again. You also can’t use the cup for post-partum bleeding.

Otherwise, the only thing stopping you from using it is that you have never used one before and you are skeptical of the unknown. Just relax, try it out, and enjoy this simple product, the cup that will change your life.