a different side of Israel

Tag: Government Stupidity

Defense Ministry Spends a Million Shekels on French Tour

What’s a million shekels off the public’s back when you’re talking about swanky French hotels that cost 2,500 Euro a night for six rooms…two of which nobody actually stayed in…for two days longer than they actually were there for…with the plans being so horribly put together that they had to pay late fees?

This latest disgrace to the citizens of Israel happened this past summer, in July during the 48th Annual Paris Air Show, and was revealed yesterday by the State Comptroller’s Office headed by Micha Lindenstrauss. He said, and quite rightly, “There is no place for spending so much on hotels and lavish suites, particularly during an economic crisis, when most citizens are struggling to make end’s meet.”

He published a 16-page report that depicts careless spending with no supervision of expenses. I guess they have no cheap falafel in France? Too bad.

Barak Air ShowThe defense ministry was quick to absolve Barak of all responsibility of course, saying that he was not in charge of supervision of expenses or which hotels were booked. You see, that’s the problem with Israel. You can never actually find the person in charge, because they rarely if ever seem to exist. The sad thing is, the nonexistent person in charge didn’t even pick the swankiest of hotels. The person picked the swankiest hotels at exorbitant late fees because the event was haphazardly planned at the last minute.

“Nonetheless,” said a defense ministry spokesman, “the defense minister has instructed that from now on, all spending irregularities or deviations from regulations be submitted for his authorization.” Do you think that’s a good idea? I think that’s a good idea. Does this mean Barak is actually in charge now? A living breathing person? I really don’t know what to say. Tears are welling.

Here’s how the expenses broke down:
NIS 527,000 in hotel expenses
NIS 417,000 in covering the rest of the entourage
which totals 944,000, which doesn’t even cover flights, food, or any other expenses.

And get this: Lindenstrauss actually ordered an “accelerated investigation” because an “extensive inquiry” would have taken two years, at which time all those guilty would probably be out of office. This reminds me of a little game I went through when I first moved to Israel and attempted to get my degree from America recognized. Luckily, I knew someone who helped me with the fiasco, who told me to get a certain letter from the unemployment office declaring that I needed my American degree certified “quickly.” Otherwise, it would have taken six months, instead of two weeks.

I see things work this way at the top as well, which is strangely comforting, if not a bit disturbing.

Here’s some other sordid details: The hotel the delegation reserved, the Intercontinental, demanded that the Israeli delegation commit to the suites within four days, agree to pay for the reservation in full in the event of cancellation, and reserve the rooms for six days even though they needed them only for four.

Apparently “international pressure” now includes pesky French hotel managers. We have to be diplomatic, as they say.

State Sponsored Poison

In case you didn’t know, Israel is the only country in the world which intentionally adds Fluorine to its drinking water. Why? Because the Ministry of Health thinks it would help you keep your teeth healthy, whether you’d like it or not. Fluorine is the stuff that’s used to cool down your refrigerator, or to kill pesky insects. Being exposed to too much Fluorine causes Fluorosis.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about this:

Skeletal fluorosis is a bone disease exclusively caused by excessive consumption of fluoride. In advanced cases, skeletal fluorosis causes pain and damage to bones and joints. […] Common causes of fluorosis include […] consumption of fluoride from drinking water, and consumption of fluoride from the drinking of tea. […] In India, the most common cause of fluorosis is fluoride-laden water derived from deep bore wells.

Dental fluorosis is a health condition caused by an overdose of fluoride. In its severe form it is characterized by black and brown stains, as well as cracking and pitting of the teeth.

One needs to remember that the amount of fluorine added to our tap water is intended for adults, but small children and breast-feeding women consume it as well, and it affects them more severely.

This is why in Israel there is such huge demand for Mineral Water. In part, we do it to avoid the danger of artificially added fluorine in our water supplies. However, we can’t avoid it completely, because the same tap water is used for irrigation and for breeding edible farm animals.

Now we’ve learnt that the Ministry of Health is bent on poisoning our mineral waters as well. Why? Because many people intentionally choose to avoid tap water, and that might harm their teeth!

Perhaps the Ministry of Health believes in the principles of fascist communism. Or perhaps a top bureaucrat in the Ministry received a hefty envelope from the fluorine industry.

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