An open letter to Israel, from a girl trapped out

Do you know what it feels like to be the last one to know the knock on the door has changed? Yes Enrique, I do. Because just a couple days ago my home country decided to unexpectedly shut its airport to its residents that are currently abroad. The same country that claims to be a safe haven, a home with its arms wide open waiting to welcome you always. The only country in the world that refuses to let its own people in.

For some context, I am not (although I wish I were) one of those people who were travelling from Dubai to Greece for a fresh tan and adventure. In fact, I’ve barely left the house since last March, except maybe when my food stock was running low, and then rest assured I was sanitised and masked up — petrified to spread the virus to anyone vulnerable. I had Friday night dinners alone, cracked skin from over-sanitising and had made my way through all of Netflix just because I believed the government when they told me it was the only way to keep my family safe and get back to a functioning economy soon. So, when my sister, who I hadn’t seen in over a year, had a baby, it took all my willpower and a couple COVID-19 negative tests to overcome my fear and get on a flight. I followed all the rules, I did as I was told.

Yet here I am, a couple weeks later, being punished for following the rules. The Israeli government has so little control over its people that they thought closing the airport would show the media (read: the world) that it does have some power. Think about it — the original lockdown success? Short-lived. The first country to be vaccinated? Meaningless if hospitals are packed. Mandatory hotels? Protests in the lobby. The government can’t control its people, and its people can’t seem to understand that masks are supposed to cover your nose. This is just another desperate attempt to fool the world into thinking we can handle the pandemic any better than they can.

So where does that leave us? Cases rising, and I, a girl who has contributed so much to the country trapped out. I mean, I may not have served in the IDF, but I post a lot of pictures on social media and I know it’s brought enough people to the holy land both to live and vacation. I never asked for a commission, but truthfully, I may.

So, with the rumour mill suggesting that you may extend this resident ban, I beg you to reconsider. Have us quarantine, make negative tests mandatory, but let me in! My visa will soon expire, and I will be left to live at the airport. Just like Tom Hanks in The Terminal. Please don’t make me live at the airport.

With love,

Your favourite Olah, Raquel.


About the Author
Raquel made Aliyah five years ago, and enough time has passed to realise that probably doesn't qualify as a personality trait. Mediocrely funny, extremely Sephardi and constantly hungry.
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