How loyal is your consulate?

These days nothing seems extreme when testing out your country’s loyalty. The latest phenomenon of citizen “chutzpah” is overwhelming Israeli consulates worldwide. No matter where in the world they are, or how personal of a dilemma they got themselves into, Israelis seem to feel that anything is possible with that quick phone call to the local ambassador.

“My son is late for his flight,” explained a distressed Jewish mother on the phone to one of the Israeli consulates in Europe. “I am asking you to stall the plane until he arrives.”

When requests like these reach the embassy, it is quite puzzling for the counsel to explain that he does not have that kind of authority. Not in a single country, not in all of them combined.

But despite polite efforts of the localized Israeli officials to set a bar on their almightiness, the phone calls continue, and the requests get more and more bizarre.

Recently, a “chutzpah” enthusiast in Costa Rica called the embassy with a stern demand to vaccinate his dog. “Because if you don’t,” he threatened, “I won’t return to Israel.” He needed a vaccination certificate in order to fly the dog but had no money to do so. Instead of calling his family, he picked up the phone and without hesitation dialed his loyal friend—the consul.

Another repetitive complaint is “forgot my passport at the hotel.” Israelis who arrive at airports abroad and realize that they left their passports at their hotels telephone the embassy, asking officials to retrieve their passports for them or, better yet, to issue new ones and bring them straight to the airport.

It is quite clear for the Foreign Ministry that Israelis testing their consulate’s loyalty “don’t really understand the realms of consuls’ responsibilities.”

Chutzpah gone wild.

—Inga Feldi


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