Israeli world tour (illustration)
Photo: Danny Sadeh

No borders to Israeli ‘chutzpa’

Israeli consulates worldwide receive personal requests from travelers, their parents ranging from stalling flights, retrieving forgotten passports at hotels, vaccinating dogs

A few days ago, one of the Israeli consulates in Europe received a telephone call from a mother whose son was traveling in the country he is stationed in.


“My son is late for his flight,” said the mother to the consul. “I am asking you to stall the plane until he arrives.” The consul explained that he does not have the authority to do such a thing.


From year to year, Israelis traveling abroad are breaking “chutzpa” records that even veteran Foreign Ministry employees have not witnessed in the past.


Recently, for instance, a European consul received a request from the parents of a young Israeli who wanted the official to “go get our son because he’s stuck without money and cannot get to the airport.”


In another instance, two young Israelis traveled on the border of France and Spain and one of them broke his leg. The consulate assisted in rescuing them in cooperation with the insurance company.


The uninjured young man forgot his backpack at the site. His mother called the consul and asked him to send the helicopter back in order to retrieve her son’s bag. After the consul explained that it costs tens of thousands of shekels, the mother began screaming at him.


An additional phenomenon that repeats itself is Israelis who arrive at airports abroad and discover that they left their passports at the hotel.


They call the consul and ask him to “quickly go to the hotel and bring our passports,” or alternatively, “come to the airport with a new passport.”


Then, there is also the Israeli who contacted the embassy in Costa Rica with the following request: “Help me vaccinate my dog, because if you don’t, I’m won't return to Israel.”


The man needed a vaccination certificate in order to fly his dog to Israel but did not have enough money to do so. The embassy suggested that he contact his family.


Officials at the Foreign Ministry agree that “Israelis don’t really understand the realms of the consuls’ responsibilities. They think that the consuls can solve any problem.”


פרסום ראשון: 08.17.08, 10:01
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