When I first made aliyah, ‘back when dinosaurs roamed the earth’, as my kids would say, Bituach Leumi was considered an opaque box of unpleasantness that was out to hide the money you had coming to you. Okay, slight hyperbole, but you get the picture. It was not a well-liked institution. In 2012, the government put out a little report, stating, ‘hey, bituach leumi, get your act together and get transparent.’ And they really have worked on themselves. Is there such a thing as government office therapy?
However, in my years of working in the field of health advocacy, I have learned a few things that may come in handy if you are planning to submit any paperwork to them in the near future.
- Try never to go into the actual office. It’s true that bituach leumi is much less crowded now that you have to make an appointment on line, but most everything you need to do can be accessed on line. So go to the rather user friendly site (also in English) and start there first, before you make an appointment.
- Don’t assume you are not eligible for something. Try to apply, and let them tell you know. You would be surprised.
- Do not try to convince them the error of their ways. Try to do what they instruct, even if it is not a reflection of the greater good. What I mean by this is they just want their form signed; you don’t have to go into lengthy explanations of why this really isn’t the right form, or maybe your sister’s cousin’s uncle really should sign it. No. if they say they need that form signed by you, just sign the form.
- Make sure that your teudat zeut (your identity card) is: not expired; reflects the same name that you have on your other documents; is with you.
- Don’t overthink the process. Contrary to how you may feel sometime as a new immigrant, no one is out to get you, including the government. Bureaucracy can be slow, counterintuitive and disorganized, but no one is being deliberately malicious or hurtful. Just take a deep breath. You didn’t break anything. Just try again, with a form, with a phone call, and if needed with an appointment.
What were your adventures with bituach leumi? Please share in the comments below or reach out to us if you’re struggling with a bituach leumi issue.