Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Amazon is providing free delivery to Israel but this comes at a hefty price

Great (free) publicity in the media for Amazon declaring it’s ‘temporarily’ giving free delivery ‘for 50 million eligible items’ when shipped to Israel if one purchases above $49. Sounds too good to be true? It is.

Amazon doesn’t give away at its state-of-the-art website which are these ’50 million eligible items.’ Only when you get to checkout, it will specify if your items are ‘eligible.’ They will also pre-charge you for VAT (over $75) and customs (over $500). This all makes everything very efficient and transparent. Yet, how to profit from free delivery to Israel stays elusive.

I’ll give you an example.

I fancy a nice book produced in the US, not available in Israel in any store. What’s more compact and suitable for free delivery? I don’t care if I’ll get it in a week, a month or three months. Only, the price should be good.

The book costs $76.29. That’s quite a price but it’s for quite a book.

I thought I’ll drop in another item for $17.99. What would that cost me?

Delivery costs – gasp – $50 to $100, depending on how quickly I want it.

Gotto be kidding. I’ll drop the small item. Delivery costs: half of it. That’s nice but not free. That’s a third to two thirds on top of the book’s price.

Also, VAT comes in because it’s ($1.29) over $75. If really concerned with their Israeli customer, they’d sell the book to Israel for 74.99.

I decided to chat with them – free! Quite a search to find the chart button.

I am told that for free delivery, I need not to order from their website but directly from their Book Depository. Not mentioned in the news. There, no shipping costs and no VAT! But I need to enter again all personal details.

However, this still doesn’t work as well as it should. The book at the Amazon site is sold for a bargain price of NIS 272.93 (plus 102.96 shipping, totaling 375.89 before 68.87 VAT) but at the Amazon Book Depository for a whopping NIS 355.92, apparently without discount, without shipping and VAT. That is NIS 102.96 less shipping but NIS 75.99 more for the book.

Time for a new chat.

I wrote: I wanted to order a book from Amazon with free delivery to Israel. In a previous chat with Amazon, I was told for free delivery to order it from the Book Depository. Now I see that the $25 delivery costs disappeared but the book is now $20 more expensive. That doesn’t help much. It will even make me pay more VAT. Is there anything I can do to get the price from the Amazon website without delivery costs? Their answer: Sadly, we cannot offer the same price, we are two different websites.

So, in Israel, I’d need to pay for a $75 book about $20 plus 17% VAT extra instead of $25 shipping. I understand the trick but can’t appreciate it. It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other. There is no such thing as a free lunch and no such thing as an Amazon free delivery to Israel.

On slightly related news, the owner of Amazon has now decided that the field of contenders of the Democratic Primary race for 2020 isn’t pleasing him. He has asked his little brother Bloomberg to do something about it.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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