Sunday, August 12, 2007

The collapse of Heftziba

Everyone in Israel has been talking about the collapse of the construction company Hetziba especially the Charedi world as Heftziba did a lot of construction for the Charedi world.

This past weeks Mishpacha had 2 opinion pieces about the situation, one by a former MK who is not involved and one by a Kannoi who has a regular column (for example he wrote vehemently against participating in the Israeli elections) who bought an apartment from Heftziba for his children and could very well have lost hundreds of thousands of shekels.

The contrast is startling. The former MK writes about how time after time the Charedi population tries to save/make money and ends up losing everything. He doesn't understand why the Charedi population is so gullible and easily cheated.

The Kannoi on the other hand writes an angry bitter article demanding that someone do something so that he gets his money back. While I understand his pain I would like to make a few comments.

Basically, he brought this on himself. Here are some of the things he did that created the situation.

1. The government passed a law about 15 years ago requiring that buyers of new apartments receive bank guarantees on their payments to cover exactly what happened with Heftziba. If the contractor goes bankrupt the buyer gets all his money back. Heftziba, offered discounts to Charedim if they would forgo the bank guarantees. R' Kannoi writes proudly in the article that he opted to take a discount instead of the bank guarantees. In essence, he wants to have his cake and eat it. He opted to forgo the bank guarantees to save money but now wants the protection of those same bank guarantees.
2. He signed a contract without a lawyer. Many in the Israeli Charedi world don't trust lawyers and after all, a lawyer charges 1.5% of the price. As he himself admitted he doesn't know anything about real estate and has no idea what he actually signed.
3. He bought on paper. While there is nothing wrong with buying on paper, however, he paid 80% of the total price in advance (without bank guarantees). By law, you are not allowed to pay more then 15% in this situation. In addition, it is simply not a very smart thing to do especially without bank guarantees. Why did he do this? Again, for a discount.

What is most interesting is that he expects the government and the Charedi parties/MK's to bail him out. Even though he is vehemently opposed to participating in the elections, he wants the Charedi MK's/political parties to use their clout to get him his money back. Of course, the only reason they have any clout/power is because they did participate in the elections and according to him are violating an aveira of sitting with reshaim. I guess money talks.

Last but not least, I was disappointed by a lack of emuna. When it comes to money people seem to lose their emuna. After all הכל בידי שמים חוץ מיראת שמים and כל מזונותיו של אדם קצובים לו מראש השנה. Whatever happened was a גזירה משמים, he was meant to lose this money, if so, why such anger, frustration and pain? Why didn't instead he write a column about this explaining the lesson he should learn from this?


Rafi G. said...

I had similar thoughts when I was reading the column by R' Kannoi.....

the bank gaurantee is a form of insurance. if you do not buy the insurance you cannot really complain afterwards when you lose your money. you took the risk and lost out....

ADDeRabbi said...

he'll probably still get his money back, though.