Jonathan-Simon Sellem
Spin Doctor, Tel-Aviv lover.

Israelis: stop being suckers!

When Michael Bokobza, also known as Michael Golan, came to Israel from France and created Golan Telecom less than 10 years ago, anyone could see him on billboards or in video ads exclaiming, “We’re tired of you being suckers (in hebrew:” nimas lanou che atem frayerim “) or “stop being suckers” (in Hebrew “tafsiku liyot frayers”). Thanks to its knowledge of telecoms – but especially the exorbitant prices charged by the Israeli telephone giants (mainly Cellcom, Pelephone and Orange at the time), Golan Telecom established itself in the market in just a few weeks. And in a few months, no less than 4 million shekels were saved by the Israelis on their telephone plans. If I base my personal experience on the arrival of Golan Telecom, I can say that from bills at 400 shekels ($ 125) per month on average I have moved to fixed bills at 100 shekels ($ 30). For an even better service, data abroad, unlimited sms (remember the importance of that at the time) and foreign virtual numbers so that my family, in France or in the United States, can call me for free on +33 or +1. At the time, Golan was ever offering for the first time in Israel, a package at less than 10 shekels à month ($3). Golan Telecom was the first stage of the French revolution in Israel.

The aliyah of France brought excellence to Israel. Restaurants and bakeries are the most common examples – but there are many who provide concrete solutions to Israelis, whether in telecoms or in other areas.

If you read the Google page of customer reviews left on the Helite Israel company, you will realize that customer service has never been as praised as that of this company. Hélite is a French company imported into Israel by two Franco-Israelis citizens– and not by one of the two or three big importers of motorcycles products. Hélite is specializing in airbag vests for motorcycle riders, for horse riders and even now, for the elderly (to prevent them from breaking the femoral neck when falling to the ground). Hélite has saved dozens of lives in Israel in 5 years – and several hundred more people were able to avoid full or partial paralysis after a motorbike crash on the highway! Helite is also a French company, like Golan Telecom. And like Golan, they brought know-how and low prices (prices almost identical to those charged in France – with import fees and taxes extra).

Now, this is what Franco-Israelis like me have to say to the Israeli political class on the eve of the 4th elections in 2 years. We are tired of hearing you talk about things that are common ground in Israel – the importance of vaccination or the Iranian problem. We want prices to drop in Israel! We want to buy yogurt at normal prices (take the Israeli price and divide it by 4), we want to buy clothes at normal prices (take the Israeli price and divide it by 3), we want to buy Ikea furniture at price normal (again, divide the Israeli prices by 2 or 3).

The Israelis who pride themselves on being champions of negotiation, knowing everything about everything, all the time ; having good tricks to pay less, are in fact the biggest suckers I know. They pay far too much for everything and get along with it perfectly. It is time for that to change ! It’s time to stop being suckers !

Gone are the days of traveling to Cyprus, Rhodes or Istanbul to buy clothes or toys. The time when, by shopping in a supermarket, we enrich only Osem, Elite, Tnuva and 3 or 4 giants in monopoly or duopoly, should be over. We ask for courage from our politicians. That of revolutionizing the market, of opening it up, and of fighting against the endemic corruption which is rampant in our wonderful country!

About the Author
Jonathan-Simon Sellem is a spin doctor. He's also an elected Representative of the French people living in Israel and a member of the commission Immigration and Integration of the city council of Tel-Aviv. In 2020, he published the first full translation of all the speeches of the First Zionist Congress, in French.
Comments