Rosanne Skopp
Rosanne Skopp

Loving Israel? Yes! Liking Israel? Not always!

As one who is moved beyond mere words to say how lucky I feel that I am part of the generation that has witnessed the magnificent birth and growth of our wonderful nation, I attest that Israel is ours forever and she is very close to perfection.

And now for some imperfections!

Have you ever visited the supermarket? Oy, before a chag. Friday morning. Or any other time. Every new market has nice wide aisles. They’re just never ever wide enough for Israelis. As you search for ketchup, why must your agala be parked so that no one else can possibly pass? It’s almost a geometric mystery but if you put the agala in the correct position it can really block the entire aisle for everyone else.

And speaking of the supermarket, are you one of those who just forgot one item so you leave your agala at the checkout while you search for that item, which seems to grow exponentially. Why should you wait on line when your agala can do it for you? So efficient!

And the agala must have a five shekel deposit? Since virtually everyone drives to the market, it would be a very determined thief who would actually put the cart in his trunk to whisk away. And to what purpose? Something else in the apartment to gather the desert sand? And those carts are so NOT user friendly. They are definitely programmed to swerve left. Every last one of them. Pushing them is a torture. Who would want to steal something that’s been designed to create such misery? The carts in America don’t swerve left……or right. Only the politicians do that.

And better be paranoid when standing in any kind of line! Your fellow Israelis, who would help you in almost any situation, at risk to their own lives, will absolutely be determined to get ahead of you in line wherever possible, or even wherever impossible.

And please stay away from the post office if you want to avoid frustration. Forget it. That’s not for us! Maybe we can soon count on drones but don’t count on the Israeli Post to get anything to you quickly, efficiently, or even correctly.

How about the security guards who take one look at my 76 year old face and simply wave me on? The contents of my purse are just irrelevant….as am I. Am I too old to be considered a security threat? I want to still retain the mysterious aura of danger ahead. I don’t want to be looked at as old lady. Some day I’m going to write a book about an 80 year old woman of danger. Even at the airport, when I drive in, it’s a peek and a wave. Never stopped. Never questioned. Always insulting!. For once I want them to stop me and interrogate me. Just once.

But I do admit I’m old enough to be terrified of the increasingly menacing mode of transportation on the sidewalks of Israel. Not strollers or wheelchairs or cars. Electric bikes with adolescent drivers, too young for drivers licenses but loving the speed and thrill of watching ancients try to quickly escape their weapons of choice.

And there’s something so uniform about Israel. If a new anything is admired you will soon see it absolutely everywhere. Can we talk about speed bumps?. They’re more ubiquitous than pimples, equally unattractive and so annoying. Pity the poor drivers who fail to see the bumps in the night and wind up leaving their chassis behind them.

And then there are the just as ubiquitous traffic circles. I remember when there were practically no circles in Israel. Now they’re just everywhere and many drivers, if not most, are still not sure who has the right of way. Short of arguing with the bus driver, just let him go!.

Let him go to his home where the parking lot is gated. Ten years ago no lots had gates. Now they all do. Gates that are often not working or where the vaad has changed the combination and forgotten to tell everyone what it is. That’s called so near and so far. And this has grown to include combinations to open the front doors of buildings. Keys are so yesterday.

Of course all of the gates, bumps and circles have been created to refine the notorious Israeli driver. He’s the guy who starts to honk before the light has even turned green. And who follows so close that you can smell his breath. The only thing that keeps him in tow is the horrible traffic but, Israelis, being Israelis, have sadly discovered that motorcycles don’t need to stay on the roadway. The shoulder works just fine.

Switching gears (pardon the pun) but have you ever tried to call any of the huge companies that we all rely on? The Cellcoms, Hots, Bezeks,etc? Heaven forbid if you select the English choice on the voice menu. You will be subjected to an endless delay, only to be introduced to a totally non English speaking representative. And, by the way, why isn’t Arabic offered on the menu? It’s surely not because no one there speaks it. And that wouldn’t stop the companies anyway since the voice menu and reality have nothing in common.

And what’s with the teudat zihut? Growing up and old in America my phone number is normally enough proof that I am who I say I am. But, in the holiest land, why on earth do I need to produce my identity card number for every single simple transaction?

Speaking of identity, I always am amazed that the airport provides me with a little card for entry to the passenger departure area. I swipe that card and I’m in. Then I get to keep the card. What’s on that card? Every bit of confidential information that I have. My teudat zihut. My picture. My passport number. What’s that all about? Couldn’t I just locate one of those and assume the owner’s identity?

Just sayin’.

About the Author
Rosanne Skopp is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of fourteen, and great-grandmother of three. 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.