Monday, 23 November 2009

How to Effectively Write a Complaint - Small Claims Court

How to Effectively Write a Complaint

This post was prepared for you by Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at Law

An effective complaint is not necessarily a guarantee for winning the case you want to present, but a case well presented is a big advantage.

As a non- native Hebrew speaker, remember that you can present your case in Hebrew or Arabic only. If you cannot construct your case in Hebrew it is advised to ask for help from a lawyer.

As we wrote in our Complete Guide to Small Claims Court, there is a minimal amount of information about you and the defendant that you must present to the court in your complaint. It is advised to read our guide as well.

Please remember that in Israel you can only use NIS (shekels)and not dollars in your complaint, but if you have a specific problem or a specific need, it is permissible to use dollars on the condition that the total sum of your complaint is in NIS (shekels).

Describe the specific circumstances or details of your complaint and give all relevant facts concerning the case. Be exact as much as possible, especially when stating facts, names, location, and dates.

Include any relevant and necessary documentation in your complaint. Refer to any documents you are including with your complaint, including repair estimates, warranties, contracts, records, photos, receipts, etc. Try to use clear copies and keep the original documents with you to be presented in court if necessary.

Throughout the entire complaint, remain courteous and respectful, even if you feel you have been wronged. Courts in Israel will not accept under any circumstances vulgar language or behavior in court. Present yourself appropriately attired. Please remember to switch off your cell phone when in court.

Clearly state what you hope to accomplish in your complaint and ask the court to include expenses you had to expend in gathering your case. Give valid reasons why your complaint should be accepted.

My best advice to you is to be as brief as possible. Type your complaint using 12 size font and limit your complaint to no more than one page. The judge will be able to better understand and remember your case.

Remember that you cannot be represented by a lawyer in small claims court. If you decide not to present your case on your own, do not use the small claims court. You can always file your complaint in a regular court and be represented by a lawyer.

If you do choose to represent yourself but have difficulty writing the complaint, please contact us and we will guide you through the process as much as possible.

Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at Law

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Israel, Security and more

When coming to Israel, a major topic of conversation and consideration as to where to live concerns what you believe about the Land of Israel. Are we permitted to give parts of it away? If you chose to live on one or other side of a colored line (in this case green) is anyone permitted to regard you as being outside of the border?

When it comes to understanding about the Land of Israel and its connection to every Jew, the only place to learn is from the Torah. The Lubavitcher Rebbe - in the video below, speaks firmly of the importance every Jew has in acknowledging every part of the Land of Israel - as belonging to the Jews. Nothing may be given up - because each part belongs to every Jew. Therefore, no Jew has the right to give up something that belongs to another. In fact, by even considering the possibility of peace through the giving up of our Land, we actually bring ourselves to further problems of encouraging the rest of the world to feel that there is even the remotest possibility for negotiations.

There is not! In fact, just the opposite - we MUST admit that our Land is OUR land, and in our every behaviour towards it, we must show and acknowledge well that whether it's Jerusalem or Beitar Illit or any other part of Israel - this is all of our Land! There is no excuse for a Jew stating that what G-d gave us - He did not... When one is given a gift of such magnitude, one must learn to appreciate every part of it, rather than to drive around with Israeli flags on one's car expressing one's loyalty to the land - then going against every commandment of the Torah - and then furthering the problem by actually admitting to the world that it's not really our country! It sounds quite comical - and yet this is the attitude taken. Israel is ours. It is our gift, and we must treasure it by realizing that every part of it is absolutely filled with G-d's Presence. We show our appreciation towards it by means of doing all we can. Fulfilling the wishes of the King in His Palace! This means the complete humility in accepting all of the Torah - including appreciating that there are no negotiations when it comes to Israel. Israel belongs to the Jews - servants (and children of the King) in the Kings Palace.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Comprehensive Guide to Small Claims Court - The Defense

Comprehensive Guide to Small Claims Court

The Defense

This Guest Post has been prepared for you by Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at law


This document is a technical guide to the small claims court. Here you will learn the main legal rules when submitting a defence to the small claims court.

In a separate document, I will guide you in writing an effective claim or defense.

Small claims court in Israel is not similar to those in the United States or Europe. In order to understand how the system works, this short guide will be divided into sub-categories to make it easier to navigate.

This court (Tribunal) is incorporated in the Magistrate’s Court (Inferior Court) and any decision, judgment or resolution can be appealed within 15 days of the final decision. The appeal takes place in a higher court (“Beit Mishpat Mechozi”). Please notice: Appealing in these kinds of cases is usually not worth it and will most likely cost you a large sum.

Anyone can be sued through the small claims court, but not everyone can sue through this court. Only private citizens can sue through the small claims court but not companies, municipalities, government ministries or any other kind of organizations.

Another issue concerns legal representation. In this court you cannot be represented (when being sued or suing) by a lawyer. You are on your own, except in cases when the plaintiff or the defendant has a specific problem, such as language. In this case, the judge may permit a relative to aid in the procedures (but you won’t know until the hearing itself starts in court).

Unfortunately, when suing a company, government or any other entity (not a private individual), you may find yourself conducting the case against a lawyer who represents the other side.

How come? If the company or the entity has in its employ a lawyer, this employee may represent the company, but you cannot do this.

The “bad news” for new immigrants is that you can present your case only in Hebrew or Arabic, but not in English or any other language. If you need an interpreter you have to ask the judge’s permission when filing your defense.

It is strongly advised to use the services of a lawyer to write an effective complaint but never to write a defense without a lawyer.

The first step:

After receiving the complaint by registered mail or delivered personally, (In both cases it doesn’t matter if you agree or not to sign or even receive the papers. By law you’ve just received them in a legal way), shock usually follows and then the “outrageous phase”. Don't worry and stay calm. You have 15 days (including weekends and holidays) to present your written defense. If you need more time you must ask the court for it before the 15 days expired.

Second Step - the answers:

Start with a simple draft for yourself. For every one of the plaintiff’s arguments, plea or charge; you must have a specific answer. NOTE: For any non-answered charges, the plaintiff won’t need to “prove” his case on that issue. You will be considered as agreeing with him on that unanswered charge.

If you don’t present your defense the plaintiff will automatically “win” the case.

Third Step - the burden of proof:

The full burden of proof is always and only on the plaintiff’s shoulders and it is not on the defendant to prove these charges or claims. Be brief, clear, chronological and consistent in your answers.

Fourth Step:

It will be better if you present your defense personally to the court’s secretariat. There must be three complete copies. The secretariat hours are from 8:30 to 12:30 except Fridays, Saturdays or holidays. Keep a stamped copy.

Fifth Step - the audience day:

Your day in court has arrived. All sides must be present in the court room on time and it generally takes a long time to be heard.

It is advised to “visit” a court room before. Go to the nearest tribunal and “learn” how it works. All cases are open to the public and generally you can find a seat (don’t go before 9:30).

Forms used for plaintiffs and defendants:

You should use the form stipulated by the court; from these forms you can learn the outline of these documents. You are not obligated to type your legal documents but remember that the Judge is a human being and if you make the case clearer, you have a better chance of being understood.

In any case, if you decide to have your complaint or defense handwritten, it must be in clear handwriting, not very crowded and as short as possible (it should be brief in any case), but remember to answer any specific issue the plaintiff used in his complaint.

Below is a link for the forms for the defense:

Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at law

Come and Meet Other Jewish Women

If you are coming to Eretz Yisrael on a Pilot Trip during the month of December or have recently made Aliya, come and join our Full Day Seminar for Women. At this event you will meet other women who already live in Israel. We have some wonderful speakers lined up.

Each of these speakers is very worth getting to know and each have guests for Shabbat.

So come and join us. One of the keys to settling in Israel successfully is increasing your network. What better way than through a full day that is geared to increasing Unity with Jewish Women.

If you can't make this event, please be in touch anyway. We are working on making this kind of event a regular happening. So come along another time.

Advert going into the RBS Views

"Wow, what a list of speakers
" Comment sent by friend on FaceBook

"Your event sounds fantastic" Comment sent by friend on twitter

Advert going into the Shechunaton in Har Nof

Our Upcoming Women's Event, scheduled to take place, G-d willing, on 8th Dec 2009 at the Dati Leumi Shul Hall, 22 Rehov Chai Taib, Har Nof.

"It looks like terrific program!" One of our presenters in response to confirming details of the time for her slot.

As you can see, responses coming in are positive. We have wonderful and inspiring speakers and a varied program.

Come and join us for a day of Torah, Tehillim, Tzeddakah, Simchah and Unity. Further details can be seen on our website

Prior Booking is essential. Payment to attend can be made either via PayPal or direct deposit to our Bank Account.

To book your places, please email Shoshanah
Book for a friend too and receive a free raffle ticket.

₪250 per person.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Questions and Answers - Obtaining Arnona Rights

Dear Shoshanah:



Thank you for sending in your question related to Aliya.

To obtain your rights for Arnona as an Olah / Oleh, check with the Jewish Agency as the rights change. You have either a year or two years, depending if they have altered the rights.

You need your Teudat Oleh (your booklet for claiming rights that you obtain at the airport), Teudat Zehut (your identification document) and your rental contract which must be in the name of the Oleh claiming.

You need to go into the Iria (municipality) in the city where you live. For Jerusalem this is opposite the Central Post Office, Rehov Jaffo.

You also need lots and lots and lots of prayers and often someone who knows someone to obtain your rights.

I lost mine, as did my husband for no reason in particular. After lots of fighting, turning to a few organizations and many, many, many prayers, we got 6 months back.

Although you are deserving of your rights, be prepared to know that there are situations where time slips by and you might lose your rights either due to time or no understandable reason. Olim now should all have Aliya counselors with the Ministry of Absorption, if you are not obtaining your rights, you can try talking to them.

If you still struggle, please email us and we will endeavor to put you in touch with someone who might help.

I wish you much hatzlachah (success - הצלחה)


Friday, 13 November 2009


Great news to everyone in Israel. If you are looking to do business with overseas clients, whether through a web page, blog or any other means, Paypal – as of this afternoon 13 November 2009– is fully compatible with Israeli banks!

For the past year or so, Paypal have allowed Israelis to be able to receive funds via their credit card with a steep 22 NIS fee. As of today, if you withdraw 1000 shekels at a time directly into your bank account, there is absolutely no fee at all!

What does this mean practically? For one thing, if you are interested in using the Internet as a means to reach out to the world in order to increase your income, you can do so easily by setting up items to sell on your web page or blog with an "Add to Cart" button (or the like.) Those clicking on it will be able to purchase directly from you via credit card or a direct transfer from their own Paypal funds.
For another thing, if you are struggling in Israel and are in need of having someone transfer funds to you directly via a donate option, you can simply set up a donate button on your web page or blog. Those clicking on it will be able to make a donation and you'll be able to transfer this to your bank account directly to reach you from between 3-5 business days – at absolutely no cost at all (so long as you withdraw the minimum 1000 shekel, otherwise there is an 8 shekel fee.)

For those who assist others, one can simply put a post on your website or blog, explaining the cause withe a donate button for them to have an easy means of sending money to the cause of their choice.
This is a HUGE milestone in Israeli business and banking, and we can really appreciate the value that Paypal have now added to all of us by allowing us this very easy way of allowing for the possibility of bringing in income from overseas – quickly!

Those wishing to set up their Paypal accounts and don't know what to do can contact Eliyahu directly for more information.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

A1 and other Visas in Israel

In a previous post we mentioned the A1 visa. Someone then asked what type of visa this is.

The A1 visa is a Visa for a Temporary Resident which is valid for 3 years. After the 3 years one has to make Aliya.

Other visa types include:

A2 - Student Visa

A4- A dependant of a person who has either an A1 or A2 visa

B1 - A tourist who is permitted to work. This visa is usually valid for 6 months.

B2 - A tourist valid for 3 months

M-R Accompanies another visa, and allows multiple entries and exits (to and from) Israel. If you do not have the M-R, the visa you hold will be voided each time you exit or return to Israel.

I hope this clarifies. If you have further questions, please post a comment or send an email.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

To all Olim and A-1 Visa holders

Effective 15 October 2009, two changes have been put in place by Ministry of Finance (Meches) regarding tax rights:

1 – An Oleh Hadash can now sell a car imported or bought with rights after four years (instead of five) without owing the difference in taxes. The procedure for "releasing" the car from Meches is the same.

2 – A holder of an A-1 Visa no longer has rights for tax-free import or purchases.

3 – An Oleh Hadash who was an A-1 Visa Holder in the past and used rights can not use them again. If partial rights were used, Meches can be petitioned for the use of rights not used. If no rights were used, rights will be applied as Oleh Hadash from the date of becoming Oleh Hadash.

Please note the Meches website is not yet updated. For more information, you can call Meches directly.

Tzvi (Henrique) Szajnbrum can be found at:

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Klausenberger Rebbe and Israel

The Klaussenberger Rebbe, Rav Yekusiel Yehudah Halberstam was married with children at the time of the start of WW2. His journey during the wartime, was an incredible one on many levels.

Amongst some of his torment, was a certain amount of time spent in labour camps, including Auschwitz. To begin to gain an insight into what he went through and his enormous strength of character and belief in Hashem really requires reading the two books written about him.

For this post we will summarize that the Klaussenberger was a tremendous source of inspiration in a Jews ability to carry out the Will of Hashem against enormous and inconceivable odds. At a certain stage in his journey and suffering, the Klaussenberger Rebbe made a vow to Hashem that if he survived WW2, he would move to Eretz Yisrael.

When liberation came, the Klaussenberger Rebbe was not only alive, but saw to it that Jewish bodies were found and burried by developing a Chevra Kadisha. He then proceeded to develop a Kosher Kitchen and Shul, right there in the liberation camp.

Sadly the Klaussenberger Rebbe lost his wife and 11 children. He moved from Europe to USA for some time and then eventually did come to Eretz Yisrael. He married once more and built a new family.

The Klaussenberger Rebbe did not stop there though. Despite all his personal loss, he dedicated his time to building a hospital to help Jews. His hospital, Liniado Hopsital in Netanya still stands to this day.

In the video clip below, you can learn more about this hospital and the incredible devotion of a Jew to Hashem, his fellow Jew and Eretz Yisrael.

Bituach Leumi - How do we obtain this help?

A number of readers are searching with how to obtain Bituach Leumi. I am afraid I dont have a direct answer.

I have been told that you have to become a Nudnik. Have all your paperwork in order and lots of patience and just keep going back to the Bituach Leumi offices.

Some say with a fight you do get assistance.

Our personal experience has been to put our trust in Hashem and be open to other forms of parnassa or help.

If anyone else has had some success with obtaining Bituach Leumi, please do post a comment. We would love to hear positive words that will help another Jew.

Lessons in Kashrut from Arranging an Event

We are in the process of organizing a full day women's event and through this, certain difficulties with Kashrut are being highlighted.

Some hotels, when one asks what the Heksher is, will provide a certificate and the telephone number for the Mashgiach to ask any questions one may have. This is true Kashrut.

Some hotels, when one asks what the Heksher is, will say, "We write Kosher on the receipt". Saying on the receipt that the food was Kosher is not enough. There must be a Kosher certificate that is valid from a reputable Kashrut Organization. We also recommend that you speak to the mashgiach or at the very least have the ability to in the event you have Kashrut questions.

If you arrange a function or have relatives that come in from out of town, make sure that the hotel or venue is in fact Kosher. This might be Israel, but don't presume the food is all Kosher or a good standard of Kashrut.

As with everything in Israel, ask, ask and ask again.

If you are interested in our 1 day event for women, please take a look at our other blog.

The Technician’s Law

For many years services given by technicians in Israel were more like a no-man’s zone, with no laws or regulations. The situation was so bad that we, the consumers, were many times “held hostage” to the technician’s good will.

Finally, on June 2008, a new law came into effect in Israel. The problem, as usual in Israel, was that when a law favoring consumers, and not providers, comes into effect, very few know of the law. In this short article, I will try to summarize the rights and obligations of those providing services.

A short clarification is in order: when speaking of technicians, this includes any one providing a service in your home (we are talking about a service done only in your home or workplace, and not when you receive a service at a store, etc.).

Technicians are those working for or sent by importers or manufacturers. The fields included in the technician list are: electronics, gas, electricity, furniture, services provided by cable companies such as “YES” and “HOT”, any kind of mechanical device, such as a door lock and many other types.

The range of the law is mainly for the time of the warranty and depends on the level of maintenance during the time of the warranty, meaning if the product was misused or abused, the warranty will be generally void.

The rules below are applicable to any contract within the warranty-stipulated time. There are other rules and laws pertaining to the obligations of the providers beyond the warranty-stipulated time.

The rules to provide services to fix an appliance, to change the product, in its entirety or partially, are as follows:

1. The provider must stipulate a day and an hour the service will be given.

2. The waiting time for a technician cannot be longer than two hours more than the given time. The grace period is two hours only.

3. The provider is entitled to offer the consumer to wait for a phone call in place of giving a specific time, on condition that the waiting time of the consumer in his home will not be longer than 2 hours. The provider must also clarify to the consumer that this method is only a suggestion, and the consumer is not obligated to accept this.

4. The providers are entitled to notify the consumer until 8 pm the day before the specified day of arrival of any change of time of services or a cancellation.

5. The above-mentioned rule was not made to infringe on the rights of the consumer. Any existing rule concerning the rights of the consumer before this new law came into effect will not be affected. As an example: the law stipulates that from the moment the consumer asks for a technician to repair a washing machine, the provider has 3 working days to provide this service. For a freezer or a refrigerator, it is one day. So let’s say on Sunday the consumer asks for service to repair a washing machine. The date is settled for Wednesday morning. In this case, the provider cannot call on Tuesday until 8 pm to cancel the visit for Wednesday, because this will clash with the consumer’s rights to receive this service within 3 days.

In breeching the above rules, the consequences for the providers are:

6. The consumer is entitled to compensation without having to prove any damages. To clarify this point, let’s say the consumer has two refrigerators. One breaks down and the consumer calls for a technician, who does not appear within the specified time. Even though there were no damages to the consumer, because he could easily use the second refrigerator, he is still entitled to the compensation stipulated by law.

7. The consumer will be entitled to more compensation if he had actual unlimited damages of any kind. In this case, the consumer is obligated to give proof of the damages. As an example, the consumer did not have a refrigerator in working condition and the technician did not arrive in the stipulated time, and as a result there was an actual loss (the food spoiled, etc.). In this case, the consumer can sue the provider by the Law of Damages for unlimited damages, if he can prove it.

8. A delay of more than 2 hours of the stipulated time of arrival (4 waiting hours in total), entitles the consumer to compensation of 300 shekels.

9. A delay of more than 3 hours of the stipulated time of arrival (5 waiting hours in total), entitles the consumer to compensation of 600 shekels.

10. If the time specified was according to what was said in clause 3 above (waiting for a phone call) and there was a delay for more than 2 hours, or the provider did not explain to the consumer that he has the right to refuse this proposition, entitles the consumer to 300 shekels compensation.

11. The provider is entitled to offer monetary compensation, products or any kind of coupon, etc., for the same amount, but only with the agreement of the consumer. The burden of proof that the consumer agreed to anything other than monetary compensation is on the provider.

12. In the case that the provider could not anticipate any delay in providing the service, or could not know in advance (for example, if the technician had a bad car accident on the way to the consumer’s home or extreme and severe weather conditions that prevented the technician from arriving) then the provider is exempt from providing compensation.

How do you actually receive your compensation?

When claiming compensation (and not the damages stipulated in paragraph 7), contact the provider by phone or fax. Always keep a record of all paperwork, phone calls, etc.! If the provider refuses to pay, the consumer can either contact our organization and we will write a letter or you can sue using the Small Claims Court.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at Law

Tzvi (Henrique) Szajnbrum can be found at:

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Growth and Development

When moving to Israel, many find themselves in a new or developing area, there are naturally many challenges. Many wont mention prior to your moving in that there might not be telephone lines yet, other necessities, also might take a while to develop. However, if one takes a step back and looks at the progress, it is very exciting to be a part of building the Land of Israel.

The photographs in this post are all by Shear Success Photographers
When we first moved into the area we are currently in, the buildings opposite and next to us were still being completed. The park just opposite was also incomplete.

Here you can see some of the just started buildings and the mounds of earth.
If you look closely, you can see the lamps are not yet on the tops of the lamp posts and there is a fence surrounding this park. The fence was the Eiruv which since has been moved back quite considerably.

Here you can see that the lamp posts now have lamps and there are a few shelters to offer shade for those who wish to sit down.

In the image above you can also see the children's creativity in developing their own maze to play and cycle through.

Here you can see the development of the buildings and the green starting. This green has all been "self-sewn" ie no people had yet introduced any plants here.

During the winter, we even enjoyed the beauty and blessing of snow in the area. As you see, this was a few months prior to some shown already as the shelters were not there yet and the Eiruv was still near our apartment.

In this image you can see some young trees have been planted. A very exciting time, though I am not sure why this was not carried out at Tu B'Shvat time.

Here you can see the laborers planting grass.

Finally the buildings opposite are complete, the trees and grass are complete, now we wait to discover what will be in the center of the park.

Whatever it will be, it is certainly very heartwarming to have a visual reminder that when the Jews inhabit the Land of Israel there is growth and development.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Where Do You Start - Networking Options

If you have already made Aliya or are considering doing so, a common hurdle is where do you start when you don't know what to do? You might have completed your Pilot Trip, found all manner of useful facts, tips, rights etc, then you make aliya and everything changes. Now what?

You might have connected with Misrad HaKlita (Ministry of Absorption), completed everything you need to do, then things become different. Now What?

You might have interviewed for several jobs, decided which to chose, comes the day before the job starts, you find new information. Either the job you thought you had now is not, or the details change. Now what?

You might have found an apartment, now you need to sign a contract or move or .... Now what?

The list of reasons for networking are many. We have already mentioned the new yahoogroup for South Africans in Israel.

I am happy to say that with the progress of technology, there are many avenues to pose questions and obtain answers. Here are a few ideas, if you have others to add to the list, please do post a comment.

  • For English Speaking Olim in Jerusalem, a very useful networking forum is
  • For English Speaking Olim in Tel Aviv, there is the equivalent to Janglo known as
  • If you know the area you wish to move to, most areas have their own yahoogroup e.g. Tzfat, Telzstone, Rehavia, Rehovot. You will require a Yahoo Mail Account, but after that it is very easy to sign up for as many Yahoo Groups as you wish to.
  • We would be very happy if you search this blog and also send in questions that you might have. If you have a question, chances are another Oleh does too or has been through the same.
  • If you are linked to any social network forum, e.g. Face Book, Twitter, Linked In ... there are many Israelis here too. Post a question on one of these forums. If you dont find your answer, post again or on one of the YahooGroups.

These forums are a very good beginning and a wonderful way to network.

Once again, if you either know of other network options or you have a question you have not yet found a solution for, please do send a comment to this blog. We look forward to hearing from you.

Have a successful Klita (absorption) and settlement in Israel.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Subsidized Legal Assistance for Olim

One of our readers was interested in knowing whether the Misrad haKlita (Ministry of Absorption) subsidizes lawyers or legal assistance.

From my own experience, there are certain avenues for legal assistance, however organizations do change; e.g. one organization, Milah, that offers help for Olim and used to have a lawyer volunteer a few hours a week, no longer has this service.

The Revacha ( רווחה ) which means welfare, is situated in most neighbourhoods (Shchunot שכונה). Most of them have certain hours of legal assistance. To the best of my knowledge one is required to meet with the social worker prior to booking an appointment with the lawyer, but this could be different for the different branches. It is worth asking at your local Revacha office.

Depending on the nature of the legal assistance, the organization for the country you made aliya from (e.g. UJIA, AACI) sometimes knows lawyers who will help an Oleh as a one off depending on the nature of assistance required. Once again, it is worth asking.

I posed this question to Tzvi Szanjnburn, one of our guest writers who is a lawyer. Here is his answer:

Dear Blogger,

The Ministry of Absorption does not provide any free legal aid. Depending on your income, and the type of legal help you may need, there are public defenders in the Ministry of Justice, who will provide you with free legal aid. There are other organizations that provide free legal help, including the Israeli Bar Association and our organization as well (WWW.VOLEH.ORG).

Sincerely, Tzvi Szajnbrum, Esquire.


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