Seeing this story brought me back to two low but high points in my life. The first was when I first got married. Always the frugal types, instead of going out on dates that cost money, my wife and I would walk around Givat Shmuel collecting bottles some nights. Before we had kids and before I had any kind of career. Eventually we collected enough for me to get a 600 shekel beer kit and I ended up brewing really bad-tasting Farbeer. I still have the buckets and still use them to collect rainwater. I fill the toilet tank with it sometimes.
These are sort of like Great Depression-era habits, like stories from people who grew up in the 30’s who do things like reuse plastic silverware because that’s what they did when they were 12 in 1933.
It was a low point because what kind of schmuck goes out collecting bottles with his wife. It was a high point because I am the kind of schmuck who would do that and she married me.
The other low-high point was when I was kidnapped into the army for 6 months. Instead of taking the bus from the bowels of Tzrifin to the front gate, I would do the 35 minute walk, collecting bottles on the way. There is no creature in the solar system that needlessly buys and throws away mountains of bottles and cans everywhere like an 18 year old pisher Israeli soldier jobnik. Every day I would collected close to 100, through the train station to Petach Tikva Segula to drop them off at the old חצי חינם in the dispenser and get my credit.
That’s about 30 shekels every day. A high point because it was a lot of money, a low point because what kind of schmuck in מדים goes on a train with a back pack full and 3 to 4 bags of cans? Me.
But what Sara Netanyahu did was really a low-low-low point, even for her. And my opinion of her ain’t so grand as you would guess. Because she gets enough tax money from me as it is. She really, really does not need 30 agorot more.
Apparently, for years, Sara Netanyahu would tell her housekeeping staff to collect the bottles from official State functions at the Prime Minister’s Residence, redeem them at supermarkets, and give her the cash. Wow. I’m speechless.
She did this for years, apparently, until the State Comptroller got word of it, started investigating, and then suddenly the money was returned via private Netanyahu family check (as “private” as private can be when dealing with the Prime Minister’s tax money) in May 2013 for a grand whopping insane sum of ₪4000, or 13,333 bottles.
I keep having this picture in my brain of a bunch of Oompa Loompas in the employ of Sara Netanyahu dancing out of the Netanyahu residence full of bottles and twirling and singing their way to the nearest supermarket.
I guess one could argue that if the state left the bottles at her house, then the money is hers. But on second thought, it’s just creepy.