Israel, A Love Story

It’s something that happens. We take things for granted. We forget how we got from there to here. Time flies by and we get accustomed to the way it is, and forget the way it was. We dwell on the problems, ignoring the solutions. That’s human nature and, believe me, I am the voice of doom and gloom way too often. Way too often!

Of course not all problems can be solved, in our personal lives or in our country’s life. But sometimes it’s just nice to smell the roses.

I ride down the Ayalon from Herzliya to Tel Aviv very often. The Ayalon? An express highway. In Israel. Of course. We take it for granted these days.  It’s no longer new and exciting. It’s just a place packed with cars and trucks, often creeping along. Is it a big deal? Absolutely. Just look at the view. See the massive skyscrapers in Tel Aviv. Whenever I have guests from abroad in my car I rattle off the same speech.  Maybe it’s naive and childlike but what I say is this:  Just look at those skyscrapers. They weren’t there 45 years ago when I first started coming to Israel.  Think about what an accomplishment they are.  In the midst of absorbing immigrants, dealing with the world’s enmity, fighting endless wars and having innumerable terrorist attacks, Israel was, and is, able to build a country, a real country with real cities. Amazing!!!! Can you believe?

I think about all the changes in this land, this Eretz that I love,in my own personal journey.

Let’s talk telephones.  I remember when practically no one had a phone at home.  Getting one was a major accomplishment. There were no Cellcoms, Pelephones or Orange.  It was Bezek and sign onto a huge list and wait for the lines to reach wherever you lived. Remember asimonim?  Tokens. For payphones?  Getting harder and harder to even find a payphone these days.  Everyone is so connected.  Who doesn’t have a cellphone?  Internet?  WAZE? Can you believe?

Time was you had to pick up your report at the doctor’s office.  Now it comes straight to your computer.  Fast and efficient.  Who would have conjured such miracles a few years ago. Can you believe?

And food.  Going out to eat in years gone by meant schnitzel and chips or felafel.  Maybe a beit cafe or pizza.  Schwarma too.  But now.  The eating options are astounding.  Kosher or not.  Everything is here.  It’s sometimes overwhelming.  Israel is one of the top foodie destinations in the world.  Fabulous food.  Gourmet food.  Can you believe?

And let’s not forget temperature control (indoor that is; I do wish we could master outdoor temperature control).  When we lived in Jerusalem, in 1973-4 during a sabbatical, our building provided heat in the winter for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening. The rest of the time, especially at night, we bundled up.  It was very cold.  Summetime, we had nothing .  Nowadays, central air and central heat are expected,. and if not available, there are supplemental units that do the job. Can you believe?

And back to the Ayalon  Just look at those cars.  When first I set my feet on these shores the cars seemed so tiny…and rare.  Many people didn’t have them.  Now we are looking for ways to expand public transport with trains and light rails since the traffic is so monumental. Too many cars.  Minivans.  Big sedans. Can you believe?

The makolet is a disappearing act.  Supermarkets have taken over. These vast emporiums with their seemingly unlimited variety of prepared foods and raw ingredients…… which can hold their own amongst any sophisticated country in the world, are where we shop. And some of them even provide packers!  Can you believe?

Shopping malls, traffic circles, Route 6, instant news online, cable tv, ATM machines.  All taken for granted.  Can you believe?

We are a remarkable people in a remarkable country We are outspoken in our criticism of whichever government is in power.  We raise our voices at each other when we disagree, which we do often.  On all kinds of issues.  Nonetheless we have a land of culture, education and sophistication.  I have read that Israelis are the, per capita, most traveled people in the world. And when we come home from those travels we are happy to be home, in this land that we love, this land we call Israel.

About the Author
Rosanne Skopp is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of fourteen, and great-grandmother of two. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and travels back and forth between homes in New Jersey and Israel. She is currently writing a family history.
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