Waiting! Still Waiting!!

In April, I submitted signed and notarized forms to the Misrad HaPnim (our Ministry of Interior) in order to receive a copy of my wife’s birth certificate, born 1935 in Ramat Gan, then Mandatory Palestine.

Did you receive it yet? Neither did I. And today is almost the end of June. Why does it take two months to receive a copy of a piece of paper? Only in Israel. Rak b’Yisrael.

My neighbor was born in Morocco and is a French and Israeli citizen. She brought her French passport to the embassy in Tel-Aviv  for renewal and was told to return the next morning to pick it up!

The next morning!!!   Can you imagine such a thing happening in our Interior Ministry of bureaucracy? My neighbor refers to them as our “Inferior Minisery.”

Many years ago, so many that I cannot even remember the date… I think it was in 1956 or 1957… I accompanied a friend to the British Embassy in Tel-Aviv. He had been invited to attend a conference in London and needed a British visa in his Israeli passport. He asked the consular agent how many weeks it would take to receive it.

Both of us almost fell off our chairs. The consul told us to go out for a cup of coffee and return to the embassy in one hour to pick up the visaed passport! In ONE HOUR!!!!

My friend’s words as we left the embassy, passport in hand, still remain clear to me…

“Aizeh adivut. Aizeh sherut. Lo y’uman!“ What courtesy. What service.  Unbelievable!!

It could never happen in Israel, the land where miracles do not always happen.

Nevertheless, living in Israel itself is a miracle. In most countries, citizens live and breathe relatively safe and secure. In Israel, we live from day to day with prayers on our lips and hope in our hearts.

In spite of everything, we are Israel’s children and she is our mother. One can have many children but only one  mother!

So, two months of waiting for a copy of a piece of paper which has not yet arrived raises the body’s temperature and causes a bit of frustration and a more-than-a-bit of anger.

How long can it take for a clerk to insert the copy into an envelope, address it, stamp it and mail it?

“Aha”, says the clerk. “The delay is not from us. It’s from the post-office. Go and complain to  them  and ask them why it was not delivered to you.”

A typical Israeli reply. “It’s not our fault. It’s somebody else’s fault”.

The American expression “passing the buck” has no equivalent in a Hebrew translation. I guess Eliezer Ben-Yehuda purposely omitted it from his magnificent dictionary of the Hebrew language.

But talking “tachliss,” things have changed remarkably…if not overnight. In 1951 people had to wait for seven years in order to have a telephone installed in their home. Today, who needs a telephone in the home?  I disconnected Bezek phone service from my home two years ago. Long live cell-phones!

My major complaint with cell-phones is that while riding on a bus, 38 other passengers are talking on their phones at the same time. It’s impossible to hear and to be heard.

I’ve decided to raise some carrier pigeons who can transport messages back and forth. It alleviates the waiting.

Computers, having replaced typewriters, are one of the century’s miracles. Send a message in seconds and receive a reply within minutes. No waiting. Except in Israel!

That is, of course, not the case with our Misrad HaPnim. I’m still waiting. If it arrives before my 86th birthday. I’ll be sure to let you know.  86 is not far away, but I’m not holding my breath

I need every last drop of it.

But unnecessary long waiting is not one of my virtues.

I guess that’s why I prefer INSTANT coffee!  No waiting. Just sip and enjoy.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.