'In the U.K., People Are Worried About Their Future. In Israel, We Feel Secure.'

Arrivals / Departures: A British-Israeli 'kippah-wearing leftist' on his way to Crete talks about how good Israelis have it; a Dutch man visiting his Israeli grandma talks about mind control.

Inbar Banish and Clive Abrahams.
Tomer Appelbaum

Inbar Banish, 38, lives on Moshav Udim; and Clive Abrahams, 56, lives in Ma’alot Tarshiha; flying to Crete

Hello, may I ask who you are and what do you do?

Inbar: We’re financial marketers. We sell mutual funds to brokers and banks. 

Clive: We’re flying for a weekend trip sponsored by Ayalim Mutual Funds. Because we met the targets.

What does that mean? How much money are we talking about? 

Clive: An obscene amount.

Inbar: In the last quarter, we became the company that raised the most money. The company is growing very quickly.

Clive: Since I started there, we’ve gone from raising $800 million to $6.7 billion. 

Wow, and you earn a percentage?

Inbar: We just bring in the money. When you do this all day long, you realize there are some very rich people in this country. 

How do you raise money?

Clive: We don’t sit in the office all day. We go around and meet with investment consultants at banks all over the country. I’m terribly shy and retiring (laughs).

Inbar: He talks their heads off.

You work together?

Clive: We work on competing teams. And the competition is fierce.

Inbar: We barely speak to one another (laughs).

Clive: It bugs us when somebody else is making more. (To Inbar): You should say what you want to say.

Inbar: He could be my grandfather.

Clive: I’m from the old generation, when we used rotary dials to make a phone call.

Inbar: I used to work at Clal Finance and everybody there was young and about the same age. And when I got to Ayalim, it seemed weird that Clive, at his advanced age, was in sales too. And we didn’t connect. He didn’t like me. But in time we got to know each other, and I started to get his jokes.

Clive: I’m British, originally. I root for Hapoel Haifa, I drink single malt and I play guitar.

What brought you to Israel? 

Clive: I met my wife when I was on a trip here after high school; she was 15. Long story short, we got married, had six kids and five grandkids.

Have you always worked as an investment consultant?

Clive: I was [former Ma’alot Mayor] Shlomo Buchbut’s financial adviser. That was years ago, when I was young and had hair. 

What’s changed? 

Clive: I think people are a lot more content here than in the past. I was just in England, and people I went to school with there are very worried about the future. Here things are swell – except for the defense minister and the prime minister.

What’s it like there? 

Clive: They’re really worried about the future of the economy because of Brexit. Here, despite all the hardships, we really do feel secure. You don’t see hungry people in the street.

I saw at least three this week.

Clive: I think it’s still a much lower percentage than in England. You hardly hear English in the street there anymore. The standard of living and the services that citizens get here are very high. We’re constantly complaining, but the cost of living isn’t that terrible either. A friend told me he pays 6,000 pounds sterling per trimester for his daughter’s school, way more than we pay here. Here you only pay 16,000 shekels [roughly $4,000] a year for university. I just hope that everything that’s been achieved here won’t be wrecked. I’d like to see Bibi go. But this isn’t a political column.

I don’t understand: Are you satisfied, or are you a leftist? 

Clive: I’m a kippah-wearing leftist. I once voted right – for Labor. That’s the farthest right vote I’ve ever cast. But I wouldn’t want to raise my children anywhere else. Not because of the army, even though everyone in my family serves and I have mixed feelings about it. For example, I’m proud that my oldest son was in Machsom Watch. If anyone behaved nicely at a checkpoint, it was him.

Can you give us any investment advice? 

Inbar: We’re not allowed. We can only advise you if you sign up with us.

Clive: Economics is the art of predicting the past. But my kids are texting me that I could tell you that I have a mole in a hidden spot.

Um, no thanks.

Inbar: British humor is hard to get at first.

Clive: She’s right. I don’t tell jokes to make other people laugh. I tell them to make myself laugh.

Dani Weiler and Annetta Peleg.
Tomer Appelbaum

Dani Weiler, 34, lives in Badhoevedorp, Holland; and Annetta Peleg, 21, lives in Amsterdam and arriving from there

Hello, may I ask what you two are doing in Israel?

Dani: I came for 12 days to see my grandmother, that’s the first reason. The rest is extra. I have a lot of family here. Most live in Holon – cousins, my grandmother and my mother. And I have family in America too.

Your mother is Israeli?

Dani: Yes. She went to Holland in 1979 and met my father there. He had blue eyes and blond hair and well, you see what happened. They eventually divorced and now she spends half the year in Israel and half the year in Holland. I have a little brother too.

Sounds complicated.

Dani: Yes. Hang on a sec, I have to call my grandmother and see how she’s doing.

Annetta: I’m here to visit my grandfather, I haven’t seen him in a long time. Our flight landed 45 minutes early, we must have had a tailwind. I’m waiting for him to come pick me up. Oh, here he is. Bye.

I thought you two were a couple.

Dani: No, we met on the flight.

Okay, so what do you do in life? 

I work in my father’s business. He has a souvenir shop in Amsterdam. I live out in the country, not far from Amsterdam.

You don’t like the city? 

I like life to be at a little slower pace. At home in the country I read a lot and play piano, and lately I’ve also been trying to chart a path for myself, to find myself. I also write a lot and am exploring options.

What sort of life do you want to live? 

I’d like to help people, that’s the kind of work I want to do – to help people get where they want to go, to help them free things on their minds so they can be more liberated.

Sounds spiritual. Is there a particular discipline that you’re interested in?

I don’t know what or how exactly. But I know that the chief impulse is to help. I’m into mediation and I’ve read a lot of books on self-guidance.

Like what? 

Right now I’m reading “The Silva Mind Control Method.”

What’s that about? 

How to engage with the subconscious, with thoughts and images.

What do you mean?

If you have goals that you want to reach in life, you have to see them as images, to create a “video” in your head of this thing, and then you’ll know where to go. Your inner child knows where to go. With me, for example, it’s better to be calm. So I imagine myself moving slowly and speaking slowly, and then my chances of actually moving that way improve. 

Sounds simple.

The book also talks about alpha and beta states – mental states. Say you’re working in an office and you don’t like your boss. If you’re a beta you think – “I wish he’d get fired,” while if you’re an alpha you think – “I wish he’d get promoted.” In both cases, he’d be out of your way. But if you’re an alpha, it’s a positive thought. It’s human not to like your boss, but it’s better to wish him well. It’s good for you too.

This imaging thing kind of reminds me of “The Secret.”

It’s just the opposite, really. This book was written by a guy from Texas named Jose Silva who’s no longer alive, and its first edition came out in 1977. I actually think that some parts of “The Secret” were copied from it, they’re nearly identical. But I think this book goes much deeper and deals much more with visuality. Like, before you go to sleep, you’re supposed to say to yourself: I will dream about my dream job, about my dream relationship, and then the dream will guide you to the right place.

Does it work? 

When the words written in it are good, a book can help you go deeper into yourself, that’s how you know it’s working. I’ve become a more loving person, and I’ve also rid myself of bad habits by learning to observe the advantages of stopping them. So, if you want to quit smoking so you’ll have more money and be healthier, you could do more sports. You have to see that it’s not about quitting something, it’s about making a change.