Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Protektzia at its very best

The following guest post needs no introduction:

Vitamin P

A Guest Post by Malke

As so many people in Israel know, many things here run according to the rules of protektzia.

Like so many other concepts, it has no literal translation but can best be explained by, “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know.”

This is usually to the disadvantage of olim, who tend not to have many connections here and often find the whole concept somewhat distasteful.

However, to Israelis, it’s apparently so ingrained that they barely take notice anymore.

Proof of this can be found in a recent Galei Tzahal (Israel’s army radio station) program, which included an interview with a top ranking army official.

Towards the end, they took questions and comments from the audience.  At which point, some woman gets on the phone and starts complaining that everything in the army is protektzia and that her son - and others like him, who don’t know anyone - get the short shrift.

So what does the officer say?

Send me his details, and I’ll take care of things.

The funniest part is that the interviewer’s response was, “oh, great,” and the mother’s response was, “oh, thank you, I'll do that.

No one saw any irony here…



Thanks, Malke, and also mazal tov on your children’s beautiful wedding! May the young couple be privileged to build a bayit ne’eman b’Yisrael!


  1. rolling on the floor laughing. That's fantastic!

  2. But you know that the guy did get it right. That's really what the mother wanted -- some way to improve conditions for her son. She did not aspire to change the whole system to one that would truly offer equal treatment for all. In any case, doing something for the one is feasible; promising to change the system would be simply political.

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  4. Leah, Toby, One Tired Ema-Thanks! I also felt it was too good a story not to share.
    Ariella-You underscore my point, that everyone just perpetuates the system without making any attempt to change thiings. Or maybe they really just don't even notice what they're doing.
    Mrs. S-Thanks for the good wishes! We were so glad to have you and Mr. S with us at the simcha. I am pleased you found the place although I understood from others that the hall did not read your post on wedding invitation maps and any connection between their so-called "map" and reality was purely coincidental.

  5. Malke - Actually, to be perfectly honest, that "map" was the inspiration for my post... :-)

  6. Yes, that's how things work here and probably in many other places. In Israel we're all much closer to those in power, just a step or two removed.

  7. Batya - "In Israel we're all much closer to those in power, just a step or two removed."
    Well said. This is something that still amazes me...

    Shavua tov!


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