'Mistakenly sent to Thailand'; Israel's jumbled postal service

Israeli Postal Service suffers a severe lack of organization, and is losing the faith of customers - as well as international shippers

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Raphael Poch,

Letter that was mistakenly sent to Taipei instead of to Jerusalem
Letter that was mistakenly sent to Taipei instead of to Jerusalem
Fern Reiss

There is even a hashtag now, decrying the Israel postal Authorities lack of reliability.



The hashtag has been circulating Facebook and Twitter for the past few weeks as horror stories of mail that had been sent to other countries, or never arriving at their destination abound.

Sometimes these missing packages or letters are birthday cards containing cheques, while others are official summonses to court for appearances that have cost businesses to miss court appearances and suffer significant losses. Yet others are packages purchase online from abroad that have hampered the otherwise burgeoning online shopping industry for Israelis. 

One bewildered Jerusalemite, Fern Reiss, submitted a photo of a letter she received from the United States that was mailed to Jerusalem. It was stamped with a message that said “Mistakenly sent to Thailand”. A friend of hers had a similar situation, and a similar stamp that read “Mistakenly sent to Taipei.” The letters finally made their way to the proper address after months of waiting.

Letter that was mistakenly sent to Thailand instead of Jerusalem Fern Reiss

Another story that was told to Arutz Sheva regarded an almost missed court hearing. Jerusalem based journalist Michael Chabin relayed the story. “While we've known for years that our postal service in Jerusalem is horribly unreliable - I'm still waiting for the birthday card my mother in NY sent 10 months ago - this however was the worst: Our lawyer's office outside Tel Aviv sent us a letter about a court hearing which we received several days after the court appearance. Had the office not called us right before the date to ask why we hadn't responded, we would have missed the appearance and that would have hurt our chances in the suit, which we initiated.”

The problem is affecting the delivery of goods purchased online as well. While items from China appear to be arriving with regular frequency and accuracy, items from Europe are not. There have been numerous reports on a host of Facebook groups including “Unbored with board games”and others where there are lists of complaints of international orders not arriving or being stuck in the Israeli post office.

It has even been reported that some e-bay sellers will not ship to Israel as they do not wish to have to ship via the Israeli Postal service and risk the item never being delivered to the purchaser. Many people who have alternate addresses of friends or relatives abroad have taken to shipping items to them instead, and waiting months before they can travel abroad to pick it up the package, simply because they know that they will at some point receive it.

“Whenever possible we have correspondence delivered to our family's address in New York,” said Chabin.

In Modi’in the situation is apparently worse: One disgruntled resident told Arutz Sheva that the post office only has two delivery men for the entire city, and that mail only comes in groups once a month.  

“I got 3 package notices one day last week, All three of them were delivered to different post office outlets, and had to be picked up from different places! They set our local hardware store as a delivery outlet for picking up packages.”

The story gets worse, and even slightly dangerous. Soldiers from the military reserves have also reported that their commands to arrive for reserve service have been lost, or never delivered. One soldier reported that he was surprised to get a phone call from his Liaison Officer a few weeks before he was called for reserve duty. (Generally the military gives two or three months notice for reserve duty of longer than a week). “I had thought it had been cancelled as I did not receive my command,” said the soldier who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons.

The liaison officer reportedly answered by saying that she was not surprised that the command had not been delivered. The command arrived two weeks after the phone call occurred and just before the term of service began.  

The Israeli Postal Spokespersons office has not responded to repeated requests for comment.