Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Our Prayer Project - To Increase Unity and Successful Klita

This image is one of 4 stunning fridge magnets created by
Shear Success Photographers.
You can purchase or order one of these fridge magnets or the full set by sending a comment to this post or following the link on the word fridge magnets.

We read in the Chumash, that when the Spies came to check out the Land, two of them were protected from talking negatively or falling into believing falsely what their eyes saw, ie "that life in Eretz Yisrael would be impossible and it is better to remain outside of the land." One of these was Kalev ben Yefune and his key to protection while scouting out the Land was to go and daven at Maharas HaMachpela that the merit of the Avos and Imaos protect him. For Kalev it worked, as we read further in the Chumash.

If you are considering making aliya or have already made aliya but are living in an area of Eretz Yisrael that makes it difficult to get to Maharas HaMachpela, we are offering a special Prayer Project. Send us your Hebrew name together with a donation of US$ 18 per name submitted. In return we will say a personal tefillah and recite some Tehillim, in the merit of names submitted, at Maharas HaMachpela.

If you would like a personalized package of either a 40 day cycle of davening on your behalf carried out by a Torah scholar / rabbi and his wife together with visiting various Kivrei Tzaddikim on your behalf, please do send us an email.

Please note: No-one can ever guarantee the type of outcome or a visible response to the tefillos. Our Prayer Project is aimed at creating a positive partnership to increase goodness and kindness amongst all of the Jewish people. On our side we wish to increase in all of the projects we are involved in and to create opportunities for others to be able to live in Israel and earn an income doing what they enjoy and are skilled at, while still being attached to true Torah values and a Torah lifestyle. On your side, through your contribution to our projects, through increasing in your act of goodness and kindness, you bring yourself to be more meritorious and deserving of blessing. Together, this project of UNITY brings blessing to us all.

Maaser money can be used for this.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Dogs and the Law in Israel

When I was in Mercaz Klita, someone tried to persuade me to take their dog as there was a problem of jealousy with their new baby. Some months later when I moved out of Mercaz Klita once again I was asked to take care of a dog on two occasions. At the time I did not know nor had anyone told me the laws of owning or caring for a dog. The truth is that according to Torah, one is not permitted to own any dangerous creature, of which some dogs are included.

This post has been prepared for us by Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at law

Since the subject of owning a dog in Israel is not well known to the public, I would like to provide some basic concepts about owning and maintaining a dog in Israel.

As you may already know, implementing these laws and regulations is not an easy task and in spite all the good will and efforts, many of the regulations are not well implemented.

The law and the practice:
The main problem is when a dog’s owner is sued. When sued he will be the one solely responsible to explain why he didn’t follow the rules (which are almost impossible to accomplish). The cases when the dog’s owner is not found guilty when his dog attacks another person are so rare I can’t even recall one case.

The law provides that every dog over three months old must have a valid license. License fee payment will be given after vaccination against rabies and marking the dog with a microchip under his skin.

The license is valid for one year. If a dog changes owners, it is mandatory to re-license the dog.

The law provides that the Secretary of Agriculture may demand that a dangerous dog be licensed for third party insurance against bodily injuries and property, but such an obligation is not set as a legal regulation. Municipal veterinarian doctors may refuse to give or renew a license at his discretion, for various reasons including offenses committed by the dog or the dog’s owner.
If the license was canceled, the dog’s owner must hand over the dog within 24 hours to one of those stipulated by law such as a protected facility determined by the local authority.

National Registration Center:
A National Registration Center was established by the Ministry of Agriculture, and it includes the dog’s details.

The Registration Center will have registered biting dogs and the registration of owners holding two or more biting dogs. The Municipal Veterinary doctor needs to report to the registry center dogs that have been marked by him, given or revoked licenses, and if an aggressive dog was brought to his attention.

Holding (owning) a dog:
A dog’s owner must keep the dog in his yard. The yard must be marked with a sign: “Watch out for the Dog”. The fine for ignoring this regulation is 3,000 shekels. When in a public place the dog must be held by a leash by a person who can control the dog. The maximum leash length for a “normal” dog, determined by regulations of 2005, is up to five meters. If a dog is defined as “dangerous” then the limit is two meters and they must be muzzled even at home if a child under the age of 16 years is present.

Taking possession of a dog – Detention by the authorities:
If the dog has no valid license or is being held because of non-compliance of the regulations, the municipal veterinarian doctor or inspector is allowed to catch the dog and move him to a municipal detention location. The owner can then turn to the authorities and ask to have the dog returned to him within ten days of receipt of notification of detention. According to the considerations of the municipal veterinarian doctor, he can issue a license or cancel or prescribe conditions for the dog that broke the regulations. If not contacted, the municipal veterinarian doctor may give the dog to the security forces or another organization. If this is not possible, then the doctor may order to have the dog put to sleep, with the expenses will falling on the dog’s owner.

Dangerous dogs:
Which dogs are considered dangerous?
- A dog over the age of three months who bites and has caused bodily injury or damage;
- A breed that is considered dangerous;
- A breed that the Minister, with the approval of the Knesset Finance Committee, has stated is a dangerous breed;
- A cross breed of dangerous dogs;
- If there are physical attributes and behavior of a dangerous dog.
When preparing a list of dogs declared dangerous in Israel, two characteristics of dogs were taken into account: the degree of aggressiveness and extent of damage he might cause. Eight species of dogs are considered “dangerous” by law:
1. American Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Am staff)
2. Bull Terrier
3. Duguay Argentine (Dogo Argentino)
4. Japanese peafowl (Tosa)
5. Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Stapp English) (Staffordshire bull terrier) (Staffie)
6. Pitt Bull Terrier
7. Brazilian filet (Fila brasileiro)
8. Rottweiler

Holding a dog without a valid license and allowing the dog to go outside the yard - is liable to six months in prison. Holding a dangerous dog in violation of the regulations or gives false information on essential issues about the dog - is liable to one year in prison.

The law prohibits breeding dangerous dogs in Israel. One must spay or neuter a dangerous dog before the age of six months. If authorization is given not to spay or neuter due to life-threatening danger to the dog, the dog must be prevented from mating.

There are around a quarter of a million dogs signed up with the authorities and around five thousand of them are considered “dangerous dogs”.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

WARNING - Be Careful of Israeli Salesmen

Dear Olim Chadashim

If you are going to purchase ANYTHING, whether it is a cell phone or computer or home or anything else, make sure you receive a contract in your own home language and DO NOT sign anything on the spot. Take the contract, have a lawyer look it over and make sure you both agree with and agree to everything that is written prior to signing.

This could also be a job. If you are offered a job by an Israeli that sounds wonderful, make sure that you understand all the terms and conditions of your new job. If you are being asked to work x amount of hours, ask them how many additional hours unpaid you will be expected to work. Make sure on what date you will be paid. Make sure your contract states whether you will receive sick leave pay, holiday leave pay and any other benefits, including Bituach Leumi.

It could be a bank calling to talk you into a loan or other so called special. Make sure you know what all the terms and conditions are and what the percentage of interest is. If you don't need a loan or are not given the time to think it over, and don't receive something in writing, don't take it.

We have had difficulties with numerous situations of various kinds in which the sales person has insisted on speaking only in Hebrew and described how wonderful the machine or contract would be only to discover the reality is very very different once the contract is signed.

Be careful. Don't fall into the same trap we have. Don't believe any NICE sales talk. Check out the facts over and over. If you are otherwise occupied or your spouse is not available for you to check out if you agree with what is being offered, save yourself the time and headache and just end the call or the door to door salesman's visit. If they wont give you the time to check the contract then chances are there is a problem with the contract.

If you have any questions please send us a message, join the Israel consumer's yahoogroup and you are welcome to consult with the lawyer who posts our Legal Guest Posts.


Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Preventing Child Abduction from Israel by a Parent

Usually we like to post happy articles and positive information. The following post was prepared for us by Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at Law. Knowledge is power and there are times this information needs to be known too. We hope and pray you, our readers wont have a need for such information.

For a couple with children under the age of 18, a nightmare scenario can occur when one of the parents decides to take the law into their own hands and to kidnap their children overseas. This is called Abduction.

The Hague Convention:
The Hague Convention on Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 is a multilateral treaty intended to trace and secure the prompt return of children under the age of 16 who have either been ‘wrongfully’ removed from one Contracting State to another or ‘wrongfully’ retained in another Contracting State, and organize or secure the effective exercise of access (visitation) rights. ‘Abduction’ means ‘wrongfully removing’ to another country or ‘wrongfully retaining’ a child in a country where he has not been ‘habitually resident’, i.e. living.

Under the Hague Convention Law (Return of Abducted Children) 1991, Israel joined the Hague Convention from 1st December 1991 and is bound by its provisions. Providing that the other country is also a party to the Hague Convention, most of the legal proceedings for the child's return under the Hague Convention will be made in the appropriate court of the country where the child has been abducted to.

First Rule:
Whatever legal steps are taken there is no guarantee that abduction can be prevented in practice. Be aware of that and keep in mind that you may find yourself in a long, costly and painful legal battle.

Suspicion and how you can try to prevent abduction:
If you suspect that the other parent may try and abduct your mutual child, there is not much you can do concerning the children’s passport (especially if the child has dual nationality and therefore two passports).

Different countries have different policies regarding the use of a passport. In Israel, a citizen must enter and leave the country only when using the Israeli passport. Please remember! There is no full guarantee that this is an unbreakable law. Even though a citizen is “supposed” to leave Israel on the Israeli passport, it is possible to do so using a foreign passport.
Keep a photocopy of the child's passport (or the other parent's passport where the child appears). Keep in your possession updated photos of the children, and personal details such as: height, weight, marks or any other distinctive features. It is advisable to keep a copy of the children's foreign passport or at least the details of such a passport.
The Israeli Ministry of Interior recognizes that parental guardianship under Israeli law includes the power of one parent to veto the issue of a passport to a child under 18; therefore, one parent can “stop” the other in advance and avoid the child’s abduction if he is sure the other parent is planning to do so.

Children of divorced parents may receive passports only if both parents attend in person to sign their consent or at least the absent parent signs the necessary consent in front of a Ministry clerk. There is a special procedure so both parents do not have to go together at the same time to renew their child’s passport.

Children's passports are given for five years (and not 10) and the minors themselves are required to appear in person at the Ministry when issuing or renewing an existing passport.

The above concerns a passport issued in Israel and not at a consulate abroad
It is possible under certain circumstances to get an Israeli passport for minors at short notice, claiming all manners of explanations, and of course without the knowledge or consent of the other parent.

How can you try to stop the other parent?

You can bring a legal request to the Family Court asking to legally issue a ‘stop order’ or a ‘stay of exit’ order, preventing the minor’s exit across any of the country’s borders. (In Hebrew it is a Tzav Ikuv Itsia Min Haaretz)

After hearing the response of the objecting parent and the Ministry of the Interior, the court will decide whether this is a justified request. These cases are not “short cases” and they are not decided in a rush.

Once an Israeli Family Court grants such an emergency or a “temporary” “stop order” (this can be done at off hours or even only by one side without the knowledge of the other parent) – it is immediately notified to the border police at airports and all crossing points.

Try to avoid the courtroom and to reach an agreement outside the court if possible. For this purpose we strongly advice using any tactics you can to bring the other side to some kind of agreement or mediation. This will cost you less, will be less painful and much faster.

Opening a Bank Account in Israel

Opening a Bank Account

When opening a private bank account in Israel you should know a few of the loopholes. A private bank account is called in Hebrew “cheshbon osh” (Over V’Shav).

What can you do using an “Over V’Shav” account?

In fact, you can do almost everything. For example: you can pay most of the bills you receive in the mail, draft personal checks (in Israel you are allowed to write a postdated check), make transactions with other banks or pay your credit card bills (in fact you must have a bank account to pay your credit card bills in Israel).

Where to open your account?

Every major bank has branches all over the country so it won’t be hard to find a branch nearby your house. It is always better to work with the closest branch to your house. You will find that in Israel you will have to go to your bank often.

The bank should not prevent you from opening an account:

Any citizen is allowed to open an account except when the new client behaves improperly or the person had a previous account in the same bank and had “problems”.

Even when the client is considered “mugbal” (which happens when ten of your checks are bounced) the bank cannot deny you the right to open an account, but in this case the account will not have any credit frame. You won’t be able to be in deficit (minus). In addition you won’t be able to use or to have personal checks from this account.

What questions should you ask when opening a new account?

The most important question is not what the bank has to offer you, but if the bank can offer you the services and conditions you require. If you always have a positive balance in your account (one of the few in Israel who actually live within his budget!), receiving low interest for your deficit is not an advantage for you. If you don’t make many transactions in your account, a low fee for those transactions is not enough of an incentive for you. Therefore, look for what will serve your banking needs and not what the bank particularly offers you.

You will be informed that all the bank fees are listed and you will even be shown a list of those fees. Don’t be fooled – you can bargain over the fees, especially over those that you most use.

It will be very difficult to change anything that you didn’t ask for or bargain for once your account is active.

Your Credit Line:

By law the bank does not have to give you any credit line. Credit lines are a result of your assets in the bank, your credibility with the bank, and even a bit of the impression that you make on the bank personnel. It is easier to receive a credit line for those who have a steady salary. The higher your salary and the more money have in savings in the bank, the more credit you will receive. Please remember that this is not a free credit; interest is very high here and very difficult to calculate in advance (read the small print!).


All the banks in Israel send you a regular statement by mail even though you can obtain all this information on the bank internet site. Please keep every piece of paper for seven years, as it is stipulated by law. You may never know when you may need them and in Israel you will certainly need them at some time.

Minimum Age for Opening an Account:

A minor can open a bank account after the age of 16. A minor over the age of 14 is also eligible to open an account on the condition that his parents (both parents) give and sign their permission in the bank.

From the age of 15, a minor who is working and receives a salary that is deposited in the bank can ask to open his own account in the bank, even without his parents signed agreement.

Credit Cards, Checks and Credit Lines for Minors:

Banks may issue credit cards to a minor who is 15 and is employed, as stated above. But no minor will receive a checkbook before the age of 16. Between the ages of 16 to 18, the bank will stamp in the checkbook that account holder is either a minor or juvenile. In addition, the amount of withdrawal for every check is limited to 400 shekels.

Minors can receive a bank card with which he can withdraw cash. The limit is 400 shekels a day, on the condition that the account is not in deficit. It is not possible to have credit lines for minors without the parents consent. Under no circumstances can the bank allow a withdrawal over the minor’s credit line.

It is possible to have a very limited debit card (again for purchases of up to 400 shekels a day).

Changing one’s account to another bank:

Not only is this permissible, but you will find that banks are always looking to attract new customers, especially if they have assets. Therefore, when changing banks you can always improve your existing privileges.

In addition, banks cannot charge more than a small fee to transfer your account.

Unfortunately there are many inconveniences when changing bank accounts. Even though your new bank you are transferring to will help you to have a smooth transfer, it is not a short process, and sometimes it is even unpleasant.

Changing bank accounts involves changing credit cards, checkbooks, automatic payments (very popular in Israel), and much more. So make a well-informed decision before taking this step and don’t be tempted by promises.

-- This post has been written for us by Tzvi (Henrique) Szajnbrum

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Chanukah in Jerusalem!

Chanukah Somayach everyone. We were going to take photos of the chanukiot burning in the windows like we did for the Sukkot at Sukkos time. Needless to say, mostly we are in enjoying our own Chanukia and have not yet ventured out fat the right time for this. There are still a few days left, so maybe we still will.

In the meantime, we did have the good fortune to deliver raffle prizes in the Old City and hence, captured this photo. What better place to have a Chanukia than right next to the Kotel in Yerushalayim? Of course, we do yearn for the Beis HaMikdash to be re-built, in the meantime, may this image serve to remind us of what Chanukah represents.

May the light and miracles of Chanukah hasten the Redemption for all of Am Yisrael.

We are back - Sorry About the Delay!

We apologize for the week or so of not posting on this blog. Yes, we do have many more wonderful newsy articles ready to be edited and posted. One very necessary word to learn in coming to Israel is Savlanut סבלנות which means patience.

We ask you to be patient as we get back into the swing of our regular work.

Here are some images that might help to explain what kept us from blogging.

On the 8th December 2009, we held a women's event entitled "The Unique Role of Jewish Women in Hastening the Redemption." Thank G-d we did have a wonderful group of women.

Sara Yocheved Rigler was our first speaker. Sara lives in the Old City of Jerusalem and is a very inspiring person to get to know.

Michele Thaler very kindly shared her personal story of what lead to her being in a wheelchair and how she uses her experience to help others. Some of her work now is in working with the disabled population.
If you have questions related to being disabled in Israel, send them in, if we can not answer, we can try to direct you to Michele or through her to find someone who can assist you.

Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum of Azamra Institute. His shiur can be heard from his website
If you are interested in purchasing one or more of Rabbi Greenbaum's books, please visit our online bookstore

Rabbi Fishel Jacobs greeted us with a wonderful warm smile. He shared a bit about his latest book, Two Kings and how it relates to the strength of Jewish women in Hastening the Redemption.

For more information and other photographs of our event, please visit our main website.


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