Dalziel and Pascoe
when the phone went. It was 10.00 pm.
I was sure it was news from or about Les and that flight from Frankfurt. But, no! It was someone from my bank wanting to know how I rated their service.
He did not ask me for ID, nor did he identify himself, but this is Israel, so I just told him that the bank staff were great as far as they went, but for some reason those who spoke really good English were always too busy to deal with mere mortals like me, and that, in addition, staff seemed to be a bit confused about rights for new olim.
Before you get really excited about this, all I mean is that in the first year, apparently, we are given a slight reduction in paying for every transaction. You know: money in in; money out; general queries, sneezing, breathing.
Even the Governor of the Bank of Israel is not too happy about all these ridiculous payments. But then, he is American:
via Zambia and the LSE.
One clerk at my Bank had told me categorically that I wouldn't pay anything for transactions in the first year. But that was maybe the case when she came from Russia some 17 years ago. Since Netanyahu's stint as Finance Minister things have changed.
And although she made the mistake in the first place, every month I receive two pieces of paper, showing all the charges that have been made ... for absolutely nothing, but at half rate. And, at the time, the manager didn't see anything wrong with this!
I explained that if a bank makes a mistake, it is up to them to rectify it, and not the customer.
But the guy on the phone didn't seem to understand this.
Plus, he kept saying that my Hebrew was really good, so why did I need English-speaking personnel.
So I replied that if my Hebrew was good, it is because necessity is the mother of invention.
And with banks (especially in Israel), as with illness, it is probably better to deal with someone in your own native language, just in case things really go pear-shaped!