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“Under Pressure”

The Israeli approach to general safety and liability continues to perplex me. Our gym required us to get a letter from a doctor certifying that we were healthy enough to use the equipment at the gym. In fact, the Intel employee gym required the words “at the gym” to appear (in Hebrew) in the note. I had to go back to the doctor to get that exact wording. Stacey’s roller hockey league required him to get a certified EKG and assurance from a doctor that he could handle the skating… even though he’s been playing hockey for years and was running about 30 miles a week at the time.

In contrast,we’ve seen what we consider to be dangerous situations such as construction sites not properly fenced off and piles of rusty barbed wire lying around parks where kids can easily pick it up… even though Israelis apparently have to be warned that climbing power line supports is deadly. Katie of From Gaijin to Goy comments on the ubiquity of babies in the front passenger seat of Israeli vehicles despite the obvious warnings.

I found myself incredibly amused this weekend while participating in a dragon boat race. Dragon Boat Israel required participants to sign a waiver stating that if they were injured or killed during the race they could not hold DBI liable. I just signed it. It’s pretty standard international practice and I thought nothing of it. My teammates were aghast. They called it illegal and barbaric. They urged me to add the initials U.P. after my signature to show that I was signing “Under Pressure”.

It makes me wish I knew an Israeli lawyer I could ask about it.

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  1. Denise
    March 20, 2012 at 14:04

    Interesting …

  2. William H Harkins
    March 20, 2012 at 14:16

    There is not a contract that can not be broken by a good lawyer. The very fact that DBI required that you sign that is a confirmation that they believe that they are sponsering a dangerous event which implicates them for doing so. If they feel that it is dangerous enough to require a hold harmless agreement then they should not hold it. Organizations do this type of stuff to try to plant the idea that you can not sue them by requiring that signed agreement they admit their guilt in holding a possible dangerous event. I would recommend talking to a lawyer at the U.S. Embassy or the U.S. Consultant.

    It was great to see you on Skype on Sun.



  3. March 20, 2012 at 14:25

    Every foot race or boat race I’ve registered for or sports league I’ve played in requires this. You participate voluntarily. I’m sure if you can prove that they created a dangerous situation they would still be held accountable. The point is that you can’t sue the race coordinators if you trip and fall over your own feet while participating in their race, or if the actions of another participant cause you to get injured.

  4. March 20, 2012 at 15:39

    This topic perplexes me as well, though no amount of investigating ever revealed rhyme or reason to the way people approach certain things with such specific requirements and can yet be so blind to others. I was just asking someone about why you can’t go to the post office without getting screened and yet there aren’t metal detectors in schools despite the prevalence of kids carrying knives and threatening teachers, and received a bunch of blank looks in reply. Hope your race went well though, and was injury free!

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