A Kinder, Gentler Bailiff? Hotza'a Lapoal Dismayed by Image

It turns out that Israel's collection agency, Hotza'a Lapoal, doesn't have quite the grandmotherly image. A survey conducted by Hotza'a Lapoal itself found that 63% of respondents associate the agency with aggressive (belligerent, uncaring and inconsiderate) behavior. However, a majority also feel that eradicating the collection system would lead to anarchy: People simply wouldn't pay their bills or debts.

Asked for their opinions on Hotza'a Lapoal, 29% had negative associations, 23% said they thought it was thuggish, and 11% answered it was uncaring and didn't care who it was collecting from. Only 4% had positive associations.

Only 8% of respondents said they thought the Hotza'a Lapoal should be closed down and the nation would thusly be better off. Almost half, 47%, thought that eliminating it would lead to chaos and anarchy.

Though people generally said the institution was necessary, Hotza'a Lapoal ranked only third on the essentiality scale, below the National Insurance Institute (which collects and pays social security, among other things) and the income tax authority.

Institutions ranking below Hotza'a Lapoal include the Israel Lands Administration, VAT, customs authority, and in last place, the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

Although its existence was thereby vindicated, Hotza'a Lapoal hopes a change of name will change its image too. Not that the new monicker is cuddly - it's the Enforcement and Collection Authority.

People also generally feel that Hotza'a Lapoal is inefficient.

Hotza'a Lapoal commented that the name change doesn't affect its status or functions, it's just a branding issue, following its legal separation from the courts. The name is based on a public-satisfaction survey Hotza'a Lapoal commissioned from the Rotem Institute, among 900 adults, of whom 40% were from the Arab community.

The ones who said Hotza'a Lapoal was unnecessary pointed to its "happy trigger finger" - they feel it acts too hastily when seizing assets or money.

"We have reached conclusions," Hotza'a Lapoal commented on the survey it had commissioned.

Hotza'a Lapoal added that it has already begun taking "effective steps" to make information more easily accessible to the general public, and to provide privacy to the people contacting it.