A friend in need (of a new car) is a friend indeed

“Thirteen years I have lived in this country,” I ranted to my new classmate as we trudged out of the Hebrew University a few hours ago, “and I still don’t get it . . . in fact, I will never get it!”

I was sharing with Ofer what had been bothering me all day, probably for the very reason that I was not quite sure why . . .

After informing a friend (“Friend”) in Tel Aviv, yesterday (Wednesday) evening, that I was going to be spending today looking for a new car, he mumbled something about waiting for him to speak to the Volkswagen dealership from which he had recently purchased his Polo.

Chaver mavi chaver, I assumed – literally “A friend brings a friend”, a cash incentive common in these parts – and suggested that we split it (as is also common) “chetzi-chetzi” (fifty-fifty). “Yes,” came the reply, without really sounding meant.

Accompanying me on the short walk up Lincoln and onto Yitzhak Sadeh (where the dealership is based), this morning, Friend came clean, informing me that he had told the salesman that he was bringing me and had already negotiated a free service for himself if I, too, purchase a VW.

I ruminated over this combina (see here and here) –  some might call it chutzpah –  all the way up Highway 1, this afternoon . . .

First, there was the knowledge that nothing in this country comes free, and that Friend’s ‘free’ service will definitely be coming off my end of the deal.

Troubling me considerably more, however, was the vulture mentality: What is it about the natives, that they have to get in/have an angle on absolutely bloody everything . . . even a mate forking out 20-25 thousand quid on a new car?! The same friend in England would have negotiated a bigger discount for me, rather than instinctively thinking what he could get out of the deal for himself. And it is not as if he had introduced me to “This wonderful thing called Volkswagen!” The showroom had been top of my list.

Perhaps I am just a meany – indeed, that was Ofer’s take: “Lama ata lo rotzeh lefargen?” (effectively, “Why don’t you want Friend to receive his just reward?”) – though, more likely, it just wasn’t very comfortable having to gaze in the mirror.

[With the time constraints of being back at school, but still getting the occasional urge to write, posts from now on will be shorter . . . if, as above, not sweeter!]


24 responses to “A friend in need (of a new car) is a friend indeed

  1. looks like you missed out on the “sweeter” part 😉

  2. Writing as therapy, Gregory . . . especially for having to deal with Israelis!

  3. Watch out!

  4. What you don’t get yet is that if they’ve got money to shtip your mate for bringing you, then they’re screwing you on the price.

  5. It’s all part of the ‘fryer’ (literally meaning ‘mug’) mentality. “Lama shehu marviah? Tarviach ata!” (Why should he benefit? You benefit!)

  6. I’m proud to be a fryer. I can’t bear the whole “magiya li” mentality.

  7. Good to hear from an Israeli. Keep talking, we have a lot to ask you….

  8. Care to reveal your particular fringe of nutterdom/unpleasantness, Estel? Or have I got you all wrong?!

  9. Umm, I’m Jewish. I have family in Israel, but they never talk to me (from a feud with my father (Avershalom) sometime in the 1940s, as I understand it). So it would be nice to hear everyday stuff about life in Israel, and also what they think about the unrelenting criticism etc.

  10. Apologies, Estel . . . I jumped to the conclusion that it was a comment from an “Israel-only basher” (as I call them). The “unrelenting criticism”, you see, has made us defensive!

    If you delve into my 190 or so posts (see Posts By Category in the righthand margin), you will find loads of “everyday stuff about life in Israel”. Enjoy!

  11. Thanks Mike, so if anyone from the IFERGAN family of Tel Aviv sees any of this, please respond, I would love to hear from you!

  12. Ifergan. Lefargen (see end of post above). I don’t believe there’s any word quite like it in English . . .

  13. Its a shame you have such bad judgement in choosing your friends ie you defriended me and I had a blonde, beautiful Doctor to fix you up with! I have a close friend who has just brought a Polo and hes also one of the top tour guides in Israel. I can ask him where he brought his car. In the meantime I hope 2013 will be a year with less kvetching and more happiness – remember count yourself lucky you still have a pulse.

  14. Ifergan comes from the Spanish word for ‘those people who come from Africa’, what with us migrating into Spain and Morocco when kicked out by the Romans, and then heading back again when the Inquisition started…. Yes, it’s been a fun couple of thousand years. Sigh.

  15. And it’s fortunate for you, Abi, that you don’t have to read your own facebook updates. Indeed, your “blonde, beautiful Doctor” will most likely be impressed that I chose not to either! 😉

    PS If you aren’t enjoying the “kvetching” (I see it more as reporting/observation), may I recommend the JC or Jerusalem Post instead.

  16. As for combinot, it would seem that it was always thus . . .

    Telling my Shabbos morning walking buddy, Ron, about Friend (see post), caused him to recollect how, having asked directions to an apartment that he was interested in renting in Jerusalem circa 1980, the seemingly helpful gentleman on the bus – who got off and showed Ron the way – subsequently demanded 2% of the rent! Welcome to Israel!

  17. Pity you have turned into a hard nosed, rude, arrogant Sabra just like the ones you write about.

  18. “Its a shame you have such bad judgement in choosing your friends ie you defriended me…”

    Yes, a great “shame”, terrible “judgement” . . . I have clearly missed out!

  19. Its being so cheerful that keeps you going – have a good life I hope all your hopes and dreams come true – with or without your sarcasm

  20. In your 190 posts I don’t think you have ever been right about anything until now. TLV’ivi’s and their vulture mentality. It’s kind of the same thing as your mate fantasizing over your wife? I mean why not, but really??

  21. Glad that you’ve read them all, Joeblow.

  22. Don’t buy a panzer. Buy a Japanese, at least they hated everyone else and didn’t play favourites. That’s all.

  23. Hi Mike, hope you’re doing well and to see you posting again soon..

    Since I’m too lazy to open my email (and don’t on my mobile) I’ll just quickly post here… wanted to share with u an article from C Glick about your former country…thought might interest you as it’s about the ugliness of antisemitism in the UK…anyhow…kol tuv… ve tatzbiah Bayit hayehudi!


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