Dividing wall in Jerusalem

This wall here is the one put in a few years ago between west and east Jerusalem, it runs all the way around the outside of the Palestinian territories.   To many it looks like an icon of oppression, and people make comparisons between the wall in Berlin that used to divide Germany until 1989, or think its similar to the Apartheid movement in South Africa.


Look at the graffiti and you can see people wanting to show help to the people that live beyond this wall.   But, if you live in Israel in the early 2000s or even before then when bombings of cars, coffee shops and shopping malls happened once or twice a month, where people live in fear of terrorism then something needed to be done.  Giving a neighbouring authority that has a large scale terrorist infrastructure ability to come and cause death and destruction should not be allowed in.   Like a good farmer that needs to protect his chickens from a murderous neighbour like a fox, this is what the wall is for, although its a shame this affects the Palestinians who only want to live their daily lives without affecting anyone.

Some other roadblocks put in place for the safety of everyone have been relaxed in order to give Palestinians more freedom, but then things like this happen. (link)

Many people wont like me saying this but as the wall has meant terrorist attacks in Jerusalem do not seem happen hardly ever now, the wall is a good thing, and has saved the lives of many Jews, Arabs and visiting foreigners.

Please don’t comment on this article, all will be deleted.

Jerusalem part 2 starts March…

part 2 of my travels in volunteering for Bridges for Peace, a Christian charity that helps poor Jewish people in Israel, is almost here.

I am flying to Tel Aviv from Luton on 16th of March.  At the moment I have this ‘what the heck have I just done’ type feeling as flight was quite a bit more (£270) than I thought it would be with Easyjet, being not much less than a regular non-budget airline I flew with last year, and that I have less than two weeks to plan everything else and go..

If you click here you can see some figures of what I need in financial support for this year.   This is a voluntary role, I get an allowance (not a salary, I am still a volunteer) in some of my costs like rent and bills, but need probably about an extra £300 a month to live, I have to buy one more flight, as I am coming home in May to go to a friend’s wedding in Spain then see my sister and her new baby than head back.

My writings here only account for about 20% of the places I have been to into middle east, I intend to write plenty more.  Of course if there are certain sights and places you would like to read more on, feel free to ask.

I would of course appreciate prayer as well, I have a great many challenges coming up soon..

getting a little extra cash back from online shopping – my thoughts

For the last few weeks I have been doing online shopping with Top Cashback.

Originally saw this company mentioned quite a bit on MoneySavingExpert.com, so it is a legit operation and its quite popular now, it offers you cash back from buying anything online.  Most of the time its things I buy from retailers I use regularly.  It cost absolutely nothing to join and doesn’t need any commitment of any kind.

The way this works is you have to go onto the the Top Cashback web site first then do a search for a type of product (ie: car insurance, DVDs etc) you want buy or a retailer (Boots, HMV, confused.com, etc)   and then go and buy what you want, your browser relays what you have bought back to the web site who give you something back, easy.

Open this picture bigger and you can see what I have been using it recently.

So is it worth it?  Well, its not a get rich quick scheme, but I have got back nearly £3 which isnt too bad, as I have only signed up since about the beginning of this year.  This might not seem much, but BIG amounts of money can be made on things like insurance or a mobile contract (£50, £100 or more)   so this is definitely worth considering.   I havent bought much seeing as I am not employed, I have bought a few computer bits of ebay in order to fix some old computers up to make them saleable.  In doing so, I probably only get 30 pence for £5 I have spent.   Ebay’s cashback is something like 40% of their fees they charge the seller, that the buyer can get back.  You can see I bought a bus ticket to get from Luton airport to Stansted airport as I will be getting off one flight onto another to go to Spain in May, this ticket cost me £11.70, so 70p back isnt bad, usually (when I am normal employment) I get a bus from Portsmouth to London about 3 or 4 times a year to go shopping, see friends or go to a museum which is about £13 return, so a bit of money back there pays for a bottle of coke or something.  Play.com (I think they must be second to Amazon now, for biggest online retailer in the UK)  give you 1-8%, they tend to be the cheapest place to get DVDs anyhow without this, here I just bought one CD for £7.99.   I used Vodafone to get a pay as you go SIM card which was free and doesnt get you any incentive as I wanted to switch from Orange due to their poor service lately, but O2 and Orange offer a small (50p or so) amount of cash back for free issue prepay SIM cards and a very good amount for a new phone contract.   In some cases two seperate offers can work together for even more savings.   If you are a first time user of Tesco’s online food shopping service they can give you £10 of £50 (if I remember correctly) but more money off on top of that if you use the discount codes that are widely on the internet and click to join from topcashback.

To make the cashback work successfully you need to check your computer can ‘track’, this means using the test tracking feature on the web site to ensure that your PC will tell the retailer that topcashback have sent you there, so they can acknowledge that you should have some payment.   Sometimes when buying this might not work, so there is a manual way of chasing up any money that doesn’t show on the list of things bought recently.

The way they can afford to give the public back their money is if you think of a real physical shop which has middlemen who earn a commission in between a product comes from a wholesaler to your shopping basket, so does the online retail industry.   Therefore companies, Google being the biggest of all earn a small portion of something you pay for if you go and search for buying something via Google’s site or one of their ads.   So imagine if one of those companies actually shares some of the commission with you, the customer and you get to keep it, well that is quite nice really.   They just want to pay a bit to someone who can point them in the direction of new business, it also happens that car insurance and mobile phone stores pay their salesman good fees if they make a sale, and at the same time you have some of that cash for yourself if you know where to look.

Tips to gain cashback successfully:-

  • – Always click onto Topcashback web site then search for the retailer’s site from there, otherwise it won’t work.
  • – Don’t change things on your browser settings (like clearing cookies or settings) whilst shopping online, this might remove the evidence you have bought from that particular shop.
  • – If the cashback tracking records doesn’t show up anything, check their web site for help on how to chase it up.

So, in all I would recommend that may be 6 months worth of casual small spending on popular online retailers could get you enough money to get a discounted DVD, or with more generous deals maybe quite a bit more.   Either way I wont bother earning points with Airmiles any more I reckon. 🙂

Online   Cashback

Of course, they offer me a small commission of £1 if someone gets a recommendation from me and goes to collect £5 worth of money back from places you have spent at.   If you (UK residents only) could be so kind to click the above banner and join even if you are just casually curious, this would be most helpful to provide a tiny bit extra to my travels to Israel in a few weeks.