couponing in the holy land

Frugal food shopping for the Anglo Israeli

Archive for the category “It isn’t really a bargain when…”

Good news: less pesticides on fruits and vegetables

One day before the Knesset disbanded, they approved a dramatic revision in the legislation defining the maximum limits of pesticide residues on foods.  Among the newly forbidden pesticides are carbamates and organophosphates which affect neurologic function.  The use of other pesticides such as DDT will be severely limited.

In a small number of cases, an alternative pesticide will be allowed providing that it can be shown to be safe to the environment, wildlife, and of course humans.  The new legislation will come into effect in 30 days.

There was a minor controversy as to who should sign the new legislation- the outgoing Health Minister Yael German (Yesh Atid) or Binyamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister and effectively the Minister of every office until there is a new government.  In the end, Netanyahu’s signature appears on the document.

The legislation has not been updated since 2008, and there have been many changes worldwide limiting the use of certain pesticides since that time period.

Of course, now it will be up to Misrad HaBriut and Misrad HaChaklaut to make sure that farmers are using the proper amounts of pesticides and refraining from using illegal ones.  Since the government disbanded without approving a budget, it is difficult to imagine how they will be able to do this.  The last report regarding pesticide residues was put out by Misrad HaBriut in 2012.  They reported that 56.7% of the foods sampled had the presence of pesticide residue.  In 11.24% of the samples, there was a pesticide residue that was over the maximum permitted limit by law.  There were 133 different compound detected.

Despite that, Misrad HaBriut performed a risk assessment without taking into consideration the peeling of fruits and vegetables and decided that the amounts present pose a minimal risk to human health, if at all.  Some of the compounds found have already been banned from use in 2013.

It is important to note that these products were tested for survey purposes only- the products were not removed from the shelves as a result of the survey because the time it takes to receive test results is longer than products’ shelf lives.

For more information in English about pesticide use in Israel, go to Misrad HaChaklaut’s Pesticides Data Bank.

Of course, the best way to avoid pesticide residue in fruits and vegetables is to eat organic produce. Make sure that the product being advertised as organic truly is.  Read about the labeling requirements and other information in English on the Misrad HaChaklaut web site.

Source: Ynet, Misrad HaBriut, Misrad HaChaklaut


Immediate closure of Eidah Charedit slaughterhouse “Delicious”

The Jerusalem municipality issued an immediate closure notice (“צו סגירה”) to the poultry slaughterhouse “Delicious”, citing severe hygiene deficiencies leading to an immediate danger to public health.

The slaughterhouse, which is situated in the Atarot industrial area, is owned by “Glatt Of” and is under Eidah Charedit Badatz hashgacha.  Despite its highest kashrut standards, it did not abide by basic hygienic standards and has been operating without a business or manufacturing license.  Some of the deficiencies cited in the closure request included difficulty keeping poultry at the proper refrigerated temperature and environmental pollution which may lead to groundwater contamination.

Veterinary inspectors will be at the slaughterhouse Sunday to ensure that the closure notice is implemented.

Source: Kikar Shabbat and Bhol

**I would like to emphasize that Glatt Of owns two slaughterhouses, a factory that makes poultry products and a factory that makes fish products.  The only place that is being closed down is the slaughterhouse on Hatotseret 19, Atarot.  This closure notice does NOT imply that there are any hygienic or licensing issues with the other facilities owned by Glatt Of.

Police stop smuggling effort of 36,000 eggs from Shechem

Police at the Maale Adumim stopped a vehicle that came through the Oranit checkpoint from Shechem with 36,000 eggs headed for the Israeli market illegally.    The driver is a resident of East Jerusalem.  The eggs were transferred to the Pitzuach unit of the Ministry of Agriculture for further consideration.

Source: Hadashot Adumim

For more information about how important it is not to eat eggs smuggled over the border (without stamps or with fake stamps), read my previous post.

Photo: ‎על פי מידע מודיעיני  של תחנת מעלה אדומים הועבר דיווח למחסום אורנית על רכב שיצא משכם עם 36,000 ביצים מוברחות.
הרכב החשוד נתפס עם הביצים המוברחות הנהג תושב מזרח י-ם והביצים עברו לטיפול יחידת פיצו"ח.‎


George Orwell is alive and living in Eretz Yisrael

Yesterday was a very sad day for Israeli consumers.  Eitan Cabel’s law forbidding Yisrael HaYom to distribute its newspaper for free passed the first reading in the Knesset (it needs three readings to become a law).  Yes, you heard correctly.  A law is soon to be passed that forbids someone to give out a newspaper- it forces them to charge money for the paper!  Why in the world would Eitan Cabel do this?  Because a free paper is unfair competition to the other papers who charge money, of course!

A little background for those of you who don’t read the mainstream Israeli papers. Yisrael HaYom is considered to be a center to right wing paper. Yediot Achronot, the second most widely read paper, is considered to be left wing, Haaretz extremely left wing, Mekor Rishon is for intellectual dati leumi Jews, and Maariv is read by almost nobody.  Yisrael HaYom is financed by Sheldon Adelson, a right-wing American Jew who happens to be the 10th richest person in the world.  He is a strong supporter of Bibi Netanyahu and created Yisrael HaYom as a backlash against the left wing papers (mainly Yediot Achronot) who strongly dislike Bibi, to say it politely.  Remember some of these campaigns?


To get back to the point, the free Yisrael HaYom angers the other newspapers because (a)  they have to earn money because they don’t have a financial backer, (b) they hate any thing or any one that disagrees with their political viewpoint, and (c) Yisrael HaYom is the most widely read paper in Israel.  So what do you do if you can’t beat the competition?  In Israel, you don’t join them, you make them illegal!

Sounds Orwellian, does it not?  What happens if this becomes a precedent in other industries- will they ban 1+1 sales? “Free gift with a purchase”? Force all businesses to charge the same price so everyone earns the same amount of money?  Not that, of course- that is called price fixing and it is illegal.  Speaking of illegalities, there is a primary law in Israel (the equivalent of an Act in the US or a Regulation in the EU) which ensures the right of each and every citizen to open and run any business: “כל אזרח או תושב של המדינה זכאי לעסוק בכל עיסוק, מקצוע או משלח יד”.  So if this is true, then it would be reasonable to assume that Eitan Cabel’s law would be thrown out of the knesset.  In fact, a judicial decision was published stating that this law is “illegal” (the Israeli version of “unconstitutional”).  Despite that, it was still brought to the knesset!

For all of you who live in small communities who publish their own paper, never fear- the law only applies to “full-size” newspapers.  You can still give away your local paper, as long as it isn’t full-size, whatever that means.

I am truly shocked and amazed at the fact despite its illegality, our government representatives are still more concerned with political bickering than doing something about the “yoker mechiah”- the high prices of just about everything in Israel.  We can’t even get a newspaper for free!  Not only that, but I am disgusted with the thought that there will be only one political voice in Israel.  Every time I see a pro-Palestinian group quote an article in Haaretz, I cringe.  We all see the bias shown towards Israel in the foreign press- why should we allow it to happen here?

You may be thinking that this is an important issue, but what does this have to do with Couponing in the Holy Land?  Well, as you might have read in other posts, Yisrael HaYom is a good source for coupons, deals, and sales advertisements.  They also have a great section on consumerism.  In addition, I see no reason to pay for a newspaper when I can get one for free- that is being smart financially.

If you also disagree with Eitan Cabel’s proposed law to shut down Yisrael HaYom, there are several things you can do to make your voice heard.

#1: Sign the Atzuma petition.

#2: Go to Eitan Cabel’s Facebook page.  Hear his vitriol against Yisrael HaYom.  Comment on his page.  So far the great majority of comments are against him.

#3: Write to the supporters and opponents of Eitan Cabel’s law to express your opinion.  Most of the opponents, as you could imagine, are Likud members.  Most of the supporters are Yesh Atid members and further left.  A big surprise for me was seeing Dov Lipkin’s name as one of the supporters- as a former American I would expect him to be a strong supporter of free enterprise than he apparently is.

The full list is below, but some of the prominent supporters of the law also include Yair Shamir (Minister of Agriculture), Yael German (Minster of Health), Avigdor Lieberman (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Tzipi Livni (Minister of Justice), Shaul Mofaz, Uzi Landau, Yitzchak Aharonivich (Minister of Public Security), Sofa Landver (Minister of Immigration), Ahmed Tibi, Meir Shitrit, Amir Peretz, and as previously mentioned Dov Lipkin.

Some of the prominent detractors include: Yuval Shteinitz (Minister of Strategic and Intelligence Affairs), Yisrael Katz (Minister of Transportation), Moshe Feiglin, Uri Orbach (Minister for Senior Citizens), Yuli Edelstein (Speaker of the Knesset), Moshe Yaalon (Minister of Defense), Limor Livnat (Minister of Culture and Sport), Meir Porush, and Benyamin Netanyahu.

Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett, and Shai Piron are not listed.

התומכים בחוק: חברי הכנסת אביגדור ליברמן, אילן גילאון, אראל מרגלית, דוד רותם, יאיר שמיר, יצחק אהרונוביץ’, מיכל בירן, סופה לנדבר, עומר בר-לב, ציפי לבני, רות קלדרון איברהים צרצור, איציק שמולי, בועז טופורובסקי, חמד עמאר, יואל רזבוזוב, יצחק הרצוג, מסעוד גנאים, סתיו שפיר, עפו אגבאריה, קארין אלהרר, שאול מופז, אורלי לוי אבקסיס, איתן כבל, דב ליפמן, חנא סוייד, יעל גרמן, לאון ליטינצקי, מרב מיכאלי, עוזי לנדאו, עפר שלח, רוברט אילטוב, שמעון סולומון, אחמד טיבי, אלכס מילר, דוד צור, טלב אבו עראר, יפעת קריב, מאיר שטרית, נחמן שי, עמיר פרץ, פאינה קירשנבאום ורונן הופמן.

המתנגדים לחוק: חברי הכנסת אופיר אקוניס, גילה גמליאל, יובל שטייניץ, ישראל כץ, משה פייגלין, פנינה תמנו-שטה, אורי אורבך, זאב אלקין, יולי אדלשטיין, לימור לבנת, משה יעלון, ציפי חוטובלי, אורית סטרוק, זבולון כלפה, יוני שטבון, מאיר פרוש, משה מזרחי, שולי מועלם-רפאלי, בנימין נתניהו, זהבה גלאון, ישראל חסון, מרדכי יוגב וניסן סלומינסקי.

נמנעו: חברי הכנסת אברהם מיכאלי, חיליק בר, אורי מקלב, יעקב אשר, באסל גטאס, נסים זאב, יואב בן צור ועמרם מצנע.

As you can see, it is pretty well divided politically.

Hopefully the Knesset will see come to their senses and vote down this incredulous piece of legislation, but in case it doesn’t, I pulled out my copy of 1984 to read this Shabbat so I will be ready for what the future holds in store for us.

“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”
George Orwell, 1984

Sources: Mako and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs



Celiac-friendly foods to come under price regulation?

The Minister of Health Yael German has proposed to include gluten free foods in the basket of price-controlled foods.  “We are speaking of a relatively large population, and the food that they are required to eat carries a high price”, she said.  While waiting for the Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s response, she has created an inter-ministerial committee to discuss other options to support people with celiac disease.   Some of the options include direct financial assistance to those suffering from celiac disease or subsidizing gluten-free products.

Last week approximately 500 people protested outside the government meeting to require prices to be lowered for gluten-free products.

Not everyone is happy with Yael German’s proposal.  Some are afraid that if gluten-free products become price controlled, there won’t be any incentive for manufacturers to produce gluten-free foods and there will be much less of a variety or those that are made will be of lower quality.  They feel that providing financial assistance directly to those with the disease is a better option.

What do you think?  Will gluten-free factories shut down if they can’t earn a huge profit or is it an idle threat?

Celiac families- what would help you more- money in your pocket or cheaper food?

If you have an idea that would ease the financial burden for those with celiac disease, contact Misrad HaBriut with your idea.  The committee is headed by Professor Itamar Grotto.  Leave a message with the moked with his name and your idea.  Go to the Misrad HaBriut web site for information how to contact the moked. (English)

Source: Yisrael HaYom

יוזמה: פיקוח על מוצרים ללא גלוטן

How to buy dish washing liquid

I was unexpectedly able to leave work early recently and decided to go grocery shopping while it was quiet.  As I was looking at an interesting container of dish washing liquid, an elderly woman asked me what percent of the active ingredient (חומר פעיל) was in the product I was looking at.  I said that I didn’t know if there was a percentage, but then I found it.  I told her is was 18% and she said “See? It is like buying water.  Most people don’t know to check the active ingredient but it is very important.”  I nodded to her and with that she walked away.  Of course, this was a new concept to me so I started checking labels:



As you can see, the Palmolive and Palmolive Ultra brand both have only 18% active ingredient, whereas the Shufersal and Fairy brands have 24%.  Now I understand why some products are cheaper than others, and I appreciate the Shufersal generic even more.  I have yet to check other products such as floor cleaner, etc. to see if it is also listed- if you see it, let me know!


Which battery gives you the best bang for your buck?

One of the items on my to-bring-back list is batteries.  No matter what brand I pick, the batteries I buy in Israel seem to last about 35 seconds.  The rechargeable batteries have an even shorter lifespan.  The problem is, batteries are so heavy that it is very difficult to bring them back.  So I was thrilled to read this article in Yisrael HaYom which explains WHY the Israeli batteries don’t last- it is because many of them are zinc-carbon batteries, also known as “heavy duty” batteries which don’t last nearly as long as alkaline batteries.  They are cheap, though, and unfortunately Israelis (and new olim) are attracted to the price.  Therefore, aliyah tip #8- make sure you buy alkaline batteries (if you buy disposable).  Alkaline batteries last approximately 4-5 times as long as zinc-carbon batteries.  There is another type of battery you might find on the shelves- lithium-ion batteries, which last 5 times longer than alkaline batteries, but also cost much more.

What about rechargeable batteries?  They should last for approximately 300 charges, but most of them don’t get used that much because they get lost, or the charger gets lost, or people lose patience waiting for them to recharge.  Many people see the high price up front and balk.  If rechargeable batteries are actually used for 300 charges, they are cheaper than alkaline batteries.

What makes one battery different than another?  Panasonic, for example, has a special standard that doesn’t allow the battery to leak so that increases their price.  Each manufacturer can pack a battery differently and that affects how long they last.

Tips for longer battery life:

  1. Don’t keep batteries in the freezer.  Despite popular knowledge, this does not increase battery life but actually decreases it.  You can keep them in a refrigerator drawer but make sure to keep them in a plastic bag so they don’t leak and rust in the refrigerator.
  2. Give the batteries time to rest.  If you don’t plan on using the batteries until the end of their life, let them rest for 24 hours and it will lengthen their life.
  3. Take out the batteries.  If you leave batteries in a piece of equipment without using it, the batteries will start to leak and irreparably damage the equipment.

Finally, the results.  This first chart shows the battery life of different brands.

Are you surprised?  As I am sure you know, it is not only how long it lasts but how much it costs.  This next chart compares battery life to price and comes up with an “hours per shekel” rate.

I must say I was quite surprised by the results- were you?  The lesson learned today is don’t be afraid of the generic Super-pharm brand Life batteries.

Source: Yisrael HaYom

New class action suit against imitation canola oil

Joshua Frankel is an ordinary citizen who got curious one day.  He prefers to buy canola oil because of its healthy attributes and is used to paying a hefty price for it.  One day, however, he noticed a dramatic decrease in the price – almost too good to be true.  So he decided to send some of the cheap canola oil to the Israeli Standards Institute laboratory for analysis.  They found that these oils are not in accordance with the Israeli Standard 216 for vegetable oils.  Exactly what oil they are the laboratory couldn’t answer.

So Joshua Frankel formed a class action suit against the four companies whose oil he tested: Sun Oil, Antuan, Shell-Bar, and Or Paz.  These companies produce “canola” oil under the brands “Sun Oil”, “Ophir”, and “Gold”.  Sales of fake canola oil totaled 2 million bottles in 2014.

There was no response from Misrad HaBriut printed in the original article (below).  According to the manufacturers, they both have current licenses and their products have been tested previously and found to be in accordance with the standard for canola oil.



Source: Globes

WARNING: Colgate toothpaste with unknown safety record

The Ministry of Health is warning the public that there is a certain type of Colgate toothpaste from China and Thailand that has appeared on the market, mainly in East Jerusalem.  This toothpaste is not under supervision of the Ministry of Health and does not have Hebrew labeling as required by the law.  The public is asked not to use this product and to contact the call center at *5400 if you have any questions or concerns.

The Ministry of Health advises the public that there are Colgate products that are under its supervision.  All approved cosmetics and toiletries can be found on the Ministry of Health’s web site.



School supplies- just be Israeli

I was reading a Facebook post by someone about how much she spent on school supplies.  While most of my readers know that is is essential to plan ahead for most events in order to save money, that doesn’t mean we should be buying in advance.  All of us have seen the humus for a shekel before Yom Ha’Atzmaut and free fish heads when you buy gefilte fish before Rosh Hashana.  Those deals, however, come out right before the holidays, in sync with Israeli time which is notoriously last minute.  Although up to now I have seen some used book sales here and there, most of the Israeli population is more concerned with Tzav 8 and entertaining their kids since camps are over.  The last two weeks of August when most people are on vacation is when the shopping will be in full force.  There are one or two coupons coming out now, mainly for backpacks such as this Kravitz one:

Read the fine print: you must spend 99 shekels on office supplies from the 2013 collection.  Must print this coupon and present it when purchasing.  Expires 27 July 2014.

Here is another backpack coupon:

קליק למעבר לדף המבצע

Read the fine print:  You have to have an Egged Rav Kav.  Click on the picture for more information.

Good deals on school supplies haven’t come out yet and won’t for a while. However, it is a good idea to start getting a copy of Yisrael HaYom, which posts Kravitz coupons regularly towards the end of the summer.  You should also get acquainted with your local haredi neighborhood general store and ask when they will start stocking school supplies.  Prices are on a whole cheaper in haredi neighborhoods but I would be cautious when buying super cheap products other than paper goods because they may not last as long as more expensive items.

There are a lot more tips in a previous blog post I wrote last year- check it out!  One tip I learned after I wrote that post was the ability to purchase used books through Tzomet Sefarim. Check your local store to see if they do a buy back or not.  You can also email in your school book list to Tzomet Sefarim, pick up the books at your local store and avoid the long lines.  Don’t forget to check back here for more coupons as they come out!

Post Navigation