As my first month as an Israeli citizen draws to a close, I felt it was only appropriate to share what was quite an #obstinate reaction to a situation that was unnecessarily annoying.
Way back on the day after I landed, one of my relatives took me to Rami Levy get a cell phone plan for my iPhone. As they described over the phone and again in store, it's a pay-as-you-go plan with very good rates per minute and per SMS and unlimited internet access. The only hitch was that since I hadn't opened an Israeli bank account yet, they needed my cousin to use her credit card for the account and we would switch payment options when I got my bank set up (apparently international Visa and MasterCards weren't acceptable).
Flash forward to last week, I have my bank's debit card, which has the "IsraCard" logo, Israel's internal credit card company, and we go back to the store to get the payment switched over. They look at my card and tell me, "Well we can't use this for payment because it's not a credit card, it's a debit card". So I said, "Exactly. The money comes directly from my bank account without an intermediary" and they told me, the only method of payment they accept is an Israeli credit card. I asked about other options - a direct debit plan from my bank account, my international Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, whatever.
When they still said no I got a bit #obstinate. I noted that were I to get an Israeli credit card, I would have to pay a monthly fee for it (as there are always hidden charges to anything bank related in this country) and that in every single other situation, my CapitalOne Visa, which doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, would be golden, including, as I mentioned, at the Rami Levy supermarket that was attached to the store. Since Israeli law prohibits cell phone companies from signing you to a contract you can't get out of, I told them I would go to the other three major cell phone companies, pick whichever deal they had that was best, and switch the next day, and that's exactly what I did and am now happily an Orange subscriber! Oh and I also congratulated them for creating unnecessary obstacles for new immigrants...all in Hebrew so it's probably a good thing I don't really know too many curse words!
That moment of obstinance aside, things here are good, although it will be weird not being in Boston for the Super Bowl Sunday night/even later Sunday night here. This past week has brought some change into my apartment and I now have a new roommate. As I mentioned in my last post, my friend Sarah, who was my madricha on when I was here on OTZMA two years ago, has now moved in and we've been hard at work over the past three days cleaning, rearranging and reorganizing the apartment. I now have a new bed and a little shelving unti for all my DVDs which is great, and things feel more orderly and a bit less haphazard.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom wherever you are!