Monday, July 03, 2006

Poalim and Politics

Those who have been talking closely with me for the last several days know that I have been experiencing some disillusionment and a weakening of my Zionism due to looking at Israel up close. However, an encouraging letter from my Hebrew teacher yesterday really bo0sted my spirits, and I am ready to go again. Most of my frustrations stem from not being able to express myself in Hebrew (I could do it in English, but what would be the point of my Hebrew minor then?), as well as culture shock in adjusting to life in Israel, and reconciling the Israel of my ideals versus what goes on in real life.

Anyway, so work is good. I finished everything that they gave me and am now working on a summary/analysis of trends in multichannel media from publications we received at a conference in San Francisco. I am particularly focusing on Web channels, as well as telemarketing and cross-channel operations. Again, as I said, I love work. I love doing what I am doing and I feel like I might be of use to the company. I am also learning a tremendous amount about Israeli business practices and how it is to work a 9-5 day. It doesn't really bother me, because I like what I am doing, and I hope to structure my future job requirements around the fact that I would like to work with technology and economics and consulting all at once. We are also doing something with Google in Israel (which was just introduced a couple months ago) so soon I'll be doing a project in that realm as well. I am extremely satisfied, and I feel like everything I do at work pertains to current events, including the recent Israeli banking reforms, which HaPoalim is monitoring extremely closely because we introduced Poalim OnTime especially to help Israelis monitor their bank accounts from cell phones (did you know Israel has over a 100% penetration market rate for cell phones? That's awesome.)

Last week we took a trip to Jerusalem, but mostly to places I've been already, so not a big deal; but I did get to bond with the other interns, which is always a nice experience.

Two days ago was the match between Brazil and France (a BIG deal) and we went down to the beach to watch. It was PACKED. And people were wearing Brazil shirts and screaming and everything. It was really hardcore. It really made me feel like there is something that unites Israelis, even though Israel was disqualified a long time ago. I am really starting to like/learn about soccer. We ordered dinner (I ordered french fries, watermelon, and Maccabi beer-ideal dining situation) and it was me, Batami, Danielle (Batami's friend visiting from Texas,) and the Ben Bloch. Yesterday was a very special night because I got to order my food in the original Jewish language: Russian. Our waiter was Russian, so I finally had a leg up over everyone else. Also, Ben paid for our entire bill, which was 560 shekels ($126). I'm not complaining.

The real reason I am writing this entry is I'm sure many of you are curious how I perceive the current political situation in Israel. The perception is: there is no situation. At least, no one talks about it at work (not that I would understand, anyway ;) and my feelings (which may be wrong because of the language barrier) are that nothing is going on and if it is, it is very far away, even though the Gaza Strip is maybe an hour(?) south of where I work. That's like less than from my house to college. Also, there were three suicide bombers intercepted in the Gaza Strip yesterday, which is a big deal because sometimes you don't hear about the army doing that. But what really got on my nerves today was this article:,7340,L-3270024,00.html

A statement published Sunday in the formal internet website of the Jewish community in Iran said that "the Jewish congregation in Iran censures the human rights violations of the Palestinians in the Gaza strip by the Zionists and is grieved by this occurrence."

In response to a question on the interaction between Jews and Muslims in Iran, he responded: "We pray in Hebrew, but speak to each other in Farsi.
It makes me so mad when Jews do this. What do you seriously know about Israel? Iranian Jews have been in Iran for thousands of years, and when things go bad, where is the place they go? Israel. You guys can speak Farsi all you want, but don't come to us when you are being slaughtered. The "Zionists" won't help you then. Ugh.

Ok, I'm done politicizing. Tonight we have an HR dinner reception, which should be really exciting. I will tell you all about it.

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