Tzvi Szajnbrum
To ease the immigration and absorption process for Olim

Don’t Keep Fighting Windmills Like Don Quixote

“If you can see something, and it is wrong, you can fight it with a reasonable chance of success. Fighting the nonexistent is worse than pointless: Don Quixote tilted at windmills, but at least windmills are real.”  — Mike Klepper

This past year was one of the most challenging ones for me as a lawyer.  Sometimes, I felt more like a psychologist than an attorney.  Too many new and some old immigrants had contacted me regarding what they call, “some problems with debts.”

Approximately 70% of these people are not aware of the severity of their problem. Roughly 60% of them will blame someone else, but not themselves.

I also estimate that at least 30% of these people are not interested or willing to pay their debts. These people are trying to fight a windmill like Don Quixote.  Most of the time they feel that they will win in court.

Their assumptions are not realistic.

The legal battle is like the nonexistent windmill where it exists only in their imagination.  They certainly will have a hard time accepting a loss in court.

Maybe in principal, the debtor is right, but at the end of the day, the legal system is very strict and a debtor will most likely lose.  Then their case is enrolled with the DEBT ENFORCEMENT AND COLLECTION AUTHORITY – Otsaa La Foal office.  Once there, it is very difficult to continue to fight the case.

This is usually granted by the judge. The defense has the burden of the proof in these cases.  It is up to the defendant and not the plaintiff to prove their case.

If you are even allowed to defend your case you will need to bring evidence that will prove you do not owe the debt.  It will be as difficult as fighting  a nonexistent windmill.

 There is no perfect solution:

The best solution is when you have proof that you have paid the debt but this is rare and most of the cases involve pleading (in Hebrew “Taanat Paraati”).

A good solution is to negotiate/consolidate the amount of the debt. This is good, especially if you don’t have strong convincing evidence to provide.

If you cannot consolidate or negotiate your debts you will need to consider bankruptcy and don not wait for miracles.

A word of wisdom:

Take responsibility and accept that fact you have debts.

Before been served the “green notice” (called: “Azaara” in Hebrew) from the “Otsaa La Foal” contact a lawyer.

About the Author
Passionate about helping new immigrants, Tzvi Szajnbrum, Attorney at Law and Notary, founded the Voleh Organization, through which he and a team of volunteers provide “pro-bono” guidance to English speaking new immigrants, helping to ensure their successful integration into Israeli Society. As a former officer in the Israeli army, Tzvi is also able to help lead new immigrants in the right direction regarding the IDF. CEO of The Szajnbrum Group
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