Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sapir, The Poll Girl.

Sunday Evening; 9:15 PM Muqata Time.

As everyone here in Israel is following the news of Ariel Sharon's CVA (stroke), I received a phone call from a public opinion polling company, "Market Watch" and I was questioned by a young woman named "Sapir".

We get phone calls like this every other day, but since almost all the kids are already in bed, I took the call.

It was your standard political polling questions in Israel; Disengagement; Pro or Con. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Till this zinger: What do you think of Noar HaGvaot (Hilltop Youth) -- are they:

1. The Best of Israel's Youth
2. A Serious Problem.

I politely asked Sapir to please restate the question, since I couldn't believe they were asking it. She repeated it to me, word for word.

I asked her if she had a good lawyer, since her question constitued incitement according to Israeli law, and she could find herself under arrest for asking such things.

She incredulously asked me what I was talking about, and how her innocent question was criminal in nature.

I told her that if she would swap the word "Arab" for "Hilltop", then it would be considered incitement to pose a question in Israel:

Are Arab Youth are a serious problem in Israel?

Suddenly she understood, and said she would bring up the question with her suprvisor.

Her next question was "Will Ariel Sharon, the next Prime Minister of Israel, try to carry out more Disengagements?"

I asked her if she had heard the news about Sharon's CVA. She thought I was kidding, and told her I was very serious.

She almost started crying on the phone.

I felt bad for her, as she finished the interview almost sobbing

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


Anonymous said...

I don't agree with you. She wasn't inciting, she was asking you your opinion about a specific sub-sector. "Arab" is a race: "Hamas Youth" or "Young Fatah" could have been substituted, or even "HaNoar HaOved" or "Shas Youth" (do they exist?) But however offensive you personally might have found it, her question wasn't actually incitement.

(I've been watching too much West Wing)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Parrot: Maybe too much West Wing - but this ain't Kanasas anymore. The Shabak don't really care that "opinions about a specific sub-sector" may or may not be, only opinions.

Irina Tsukerman said...

Pardon my ignorance, but I have a few questions.
1) What are the Hilltop Youth?
2) Do the political pollsters obtain your informationt the way telemarketers get it in the United States? Are there any ways of blocking them? (Reason I'm asking, we don't really have such polls conducted over the polls here, so I found this very surprising).

Lab Rab said...

I find it somewhat disconcerting that the pollsters are so cloistered that they don't hear news like Sharon's stroke ... especially in Israel where everyone knows the news instantaneously.

Jerusalemcop said...


I love West wing as much as the next guy (see my blog for a small tribute to actor John Spencer R.I.P.), but you have to realize that there is a HUGE difference between fact and fiction. President Bartlett and his staff are motivated by Nielsen ratings and the current Israeli gov't is motivated by Nobel.

Bartlett cares about his constituents, the current gov't cares abt themselves. How else would Sharon have been able to ask for a vote from the Likud Central Committee before the Disengagement and then not adhere to their vote?

The American political system was set up with checks and balances so it's much more difficult (if not impossible) to create a dictatorship. The Israeli political system doesn't even have a real constitution (Which is one the factors which has led to very few full-term knessets.

There is no Bill of Rights and therefore no freedom of speech by law. In the US, you are free to speak out against US policy and even protest it as long as it's not done in a threatening manner, here it's unfortunately very different.

westbankmama said...

These polls are never accurate - because people like us will hang up the phone when hearing these questions, suspecting sinister reasons for the questions.

So the people who DO answer are usually very negative.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

WestBank: You probably live next door to me and don't even know it ;-)

JeruCop: Now I see why you left the force; way too bright.

Labrab: A job's a job. They're just college kids who need to complete as many polls as possible in the limited time they have. No one wants to answer these polls anymore. I got another call last night after the first one; "Would you mind anwering a few question?" How many I asked? "About 10 minutes worth..."

Irina: What are the Hilltop Youth? Wow...that needs a posting in and of itself. Overall, its a stereotypical generalization for any kid from age 12 - 30 (!) living on the hilltops in Yehuda and Shomron. They range from very religious to very lost. Some are hyper-idealistic and are truly amazing kids. Others are drugged out dropouts hungry for something to do. Most of them are very good kids.

Jerusalemcop said...

Actually my knowledge of american law got me in trouble a few time when I was in the academy. I wrote a response on a test based on the "Right to bear arms". The teacher wasn't too pleased. She couldn't undertsnad why a country would give it's citizens the priviledge to buy guns.

a good response to telemarketers is what Seinfeld did in one episode he answered the phone and said "listen I'm a bit busy right now, can you give me your home number and I'll call you back later...what you dont want me bothering you at home, well neither do I" click


Jameel @ The Muqata said...

J-Cop: Great line, we'll have to use that at our next opportunity (probably tonight :-/

Jerusalemcop said...

why wait so long? they dont bother u at work in the muqata?

westbankmama said...

Jameel - Joe Settler said I should talk to you about being "needles", Snoopy's cousin. I liked his logo so much it got me jealous, and I left a comment...

I think I live northwest of you. I prefer a bit of "mystery" surrounding the exact location though. (after being a life-long nerd this is as cool as I'll get, I think).

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

WB-M/P: You know where I live? Now that's pretty scary.

Give me some time on the Needles graphic. I'm backlogged...

JoeSettler said...

Is that why I had to do the JoeSettler logo all by myself?

JoeSettler said...

btw: Don't you mean Spike who lives in Needles?

Anonymous said...

I like how jpost is tripping on him. Poor guy. He had a friggin stroke and they are ripping on his lifestyle choices within hours.

"If Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (or anybody else, especially if past 40, overweight and sedentary) wants to avoid a stroke (or a recurrent one), there is plenty of ways to adopt a more healthful lifestyle. He can walk, reduce stress with deep-breathing exercises, learn Tai-Chi, sip a glass of dry red wine and eat a few squares of bittersweet chocolate, take an afternoon "power nap," eat sea fish several times a week and reduce his salt intake."

Batya said...

"crying?" for joy or sadness?

I refused an 8 minute poll/survey tonight. My dinner would have burnt to a crisp, and my husband would have blamed my blogging.

Elchonon said...

jameel, You just sterotyped the "hilltop youth" truth is anyone with remotely long hair, bad body odor, hippy clothes etc.. and has a orange bracelet is called hilltop youth.

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