Jan 21, 2018

Ministry of Transportation to minimize bus drivers handling of money


Galei Tzahal News today reported that the Ministry of Transportation will be making significant changes into how the buses work with passengers paying fares while the driver is driving - that will no longer be the case.

Beginning in March they will be lessening over time the ability to pay with cash for your ride on the bus itself.

It will happen in stages with the first stage being the not allowing one to pay for and load a rav kav while on the bus - meaning you will only be able to pay, on the bus, for a single ride and will have to have your rav kav loaded in advance if you wish to use it.

The second stage will be that the drivers will not take money even for individual rides and you will only be able to use your rav kav that has been loaded with money or passes prior to getting on the bus.

I can see some difficulties with this, but all big changes to systems start off with difficulties.

Personally, I load my rav kav and my kids rav kavs using the rav kav app on my phone. However, many people do not have smartphones, and even among those that do, many phones do not have NFC capabilities.

I also have a little card reader that I sometimes use to load up the cards, but again, not everyone does and many people do not have Internet.

They are going to have to find a way to make it easy for people to load their rav kavs even if they do not have Internet. The Haredi community uses public transportation at much higher percentages than the average Israeli, and Internet and smartphone limitations will make this transition very difficult in these communities.

However, it is necessary. The situation on buses is very dangerous with drivers driving at full, or nearly full, speeds, and maybe even overfull speeds, while taking money and making change and printing receipts and keeping track of who paid and who did not yet pay. That is very dangerous. Especially in light of the new driving regulations recently announced by which a policeman can give a significant ticket for even the slightest distraction while driving - touching a phone, using WAZE, drinking coffee, etc, the bus drivers involvement with passengers paying while driving creates a very dangerous situation and if they find a way to minimize the drivers involvement in these matters while driving, it can only improve safety.




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bank branches closing across Israel

Logging into my bank account online recently has the following message popping up warning me of  upcoming changes in the bank..


The warning says that as of March 14, 2018, my branch (Hapoalim in RBS) will be converted to a branch  holding no cash and no clerk services. From that date and on, all relevant services will be provided via the self-service machines. Other direct channels to the bank, such as via Internet, telephone, and app, will continue to function and be available. When necessary, bank branch 692 (the central Bet Shemesh branch located in downtown Bet Shemesh) will be available for all clerical services.

This is a trend happening in all the bank chains all over Israel. They are closing and/or merging branches in order to consolidate and save money.

Personally, I hate going into the bank and avoid it as much as possible. I use the machines to deposit checks,  as I get a lot of these through my business, and I use the online services. The only time I go into the bank is if I am sent a notice that I need to come in and pick up a problematic check that I deposited, or if they tell me I need to come in to sign something. Once every few years I also need to renew my credit cards.

The biggest problem I see with this is that half the times the various self-service machines are not functioning properly. Currently, they can be fixed or rebooted relatively quickly (not including Saturday nights and Sundays when the branch is closed), as I or someone else can go into the bank and let them know, but with no actual bank behind it with real people talking to customers, I can see it taking longer to get the machines fixed. Maybe they will keep a small branch open with some services still provided by clerks, such as mortgage services and the like, and that will keep bank people nearby.

Additionally, with everyone needing personal service in the entire city going to one branch, that place will be packed and will be impossible to use.

Another point is that closing a branch in lieu of online services in a largely Haredi neighborhood seems like a bad idea. While many/most people do have Internet and app access, many do not and they need the in-bank services for a lot of what they do. 

I get why they are doing this but I don't like it, even though I don't like going into the bank anyway.




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In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve

the news last night had a story about left-wing protesters getting more aggressive in their protests outside the private areas (home, shul, etc) of Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit. It seems they made a bit of a ruckus and Mandelblit had to be removed by his security detail. The story includes the point that because of this he was unable to say kaddish for his mother after kiddush levana, as he had to be removed quickly.

French philosopher Joseph De Maistre said "In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve".

Just two weeks ago Left-wing politicians refused to offset votes in the Knesset for Right-wing MKs that had to be absent due to deaths in their families. Angry politicians on the Right called their actions inhumane.

protests are legitimate. Why they think vulgar protests by the private areas of Mandelblit will get him to do what they want him to (regarding his influence over the investigations into PM Benjamin Netanyahu), is beyond me. It is clear though that these left-wing protesters really did get the leaders they deserve.



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laundry detergent hechshers

If you ever wondered why they bother putting hechshers on things like laundry detergent....

they must know that kids can do really stupid things, like the current Tide Challenge phase that has kids biting into, and ingesting the contents of, Tide laundry pods...

Kids out there - don't do this!




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Palestinians: If Israelis converted to Islam, would the conflict end? (video)







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Israeli Frenemies- Jan. 18, 2018 (video)








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test drive with Yair Sherki: reviewing his show on the Haredim of Brooklyn





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Hakol Haba From Jerusalem - S2E1 (video)








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Jan 18, 2018

Quote of the Day

I will not be going back to Ben-Gurion for Pence. I shot with the sheriff, so I don’t need to shoot with the deputy. My picture with Trump was not a gimmick. If I go get a selfie with Pence, it would make my Trump picture a gimmick. When you succeed in getting the top guy, you don’t go back for the No. 2.

  -- MK Oren hazzan (Likud) about the upcoming visit of US Vice President Mike Pence


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Cycle Man

A Guest Post, cross-posted, by Seraya Ziv of Mask For Winter

The computer store is my last stop in the mall. Two guys work here, one in a yarmulke and one not. When I enter they’re poring over a magazine, heads together, and murmuring. I’d be worried about their reading material except they don’t startle, or even note that I’m right in front of them, tapping my nail on the glass display. When I ask for printer ink one smacks his lips, dog ears a page, and reluctantly pulls himself away. I glance at the cover: there, glossy and fungible, a four color spread of motherboards, chargers, routers, and drives. I sit down and wait.

A bear of a man fills the doorway and enters. Tattoos slither from the slab of one shoulder down a fat arm and drop anchor at his wrist. A black motorcycle helmet hangs from his hand. I’m calculating how deep the pepper spray is buried in my purse when Cycleman pauses, touches his fingers to the door’s mezuzah, and kisses them. The clerks go wild, “Yossi! You’re back!”  My ink is thrown aside. The three shake hands, elbows, and engage in a kind of arm wrestle that to men in Israel must translate as, “Has it been that long? I’m very glad to see you. How are the kids?” Cycleman, in the softest of baritones replies, “Thank G-d.”

I plunk down my credit card. The salesman bags my ink and rings me up, all the time drilling Yossi with questions rat-tat-tat-tat, when from the mall a woman wails, “Mommy, no!” Yossi bounds out, the two sales guys follow.  A tiny Filipina caregiver is struggling to keep an old woman from tipping out of her wheel chair. The woman’s head is white straw and bare scalp; her tongue is lolling to a side. Her eyes are opening and closing in waves, like she’s drowning.

In the same quiet voice, Yossi says something to the clerks, who pull out their phones. With three fingers of his imprinted arm Yossi palpates the side of the old woman’s neck, turns his watch hand palm up, and counts.  On his inner arm now exposed, in monochrome the color of dusk, a tattoo of the galaxy spins toward his pulse.

A team from Magen David Adom arrives in a flash. One of the EMTs slaps Cycleman on the shoulder, “Yossi. You’re back.”


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