What it’s like to get a mortgage in Israel.

…or anything at all from an Israeli government branch, bank, organization, supermarket, public toilet… I could go on.

Doesn’t it feel good to know that this level of bureaucracy exists all over the world, and not just here?

I do plan to post advice and checklist for navigating the home-buying and mortgage-obtaining process here in Israeli banks and government offices. Just a couple more steps for our own deal and then I’ll feel comfortable saying we actually did it… Tfu, tfu tfu.

Paging JFK.

Maybe this isn’t very nice because once upon a time, I was just starting out, making aliyah, making ends meet, figuring it all out.

But at the same time, I don’t think I was ever a brat.

I’m just tired of hearing about/from people who are debating whether to make aliyah, but the angle they come from is what can the country to do for me? over what is my strategy for making this a successful aliyah?

It’s crucial, at least for most people, to be cautious and weigh the options – in my opinion, realistic, flexible, open-minded aliyah is more likely to succeed. And of course, a flair for brutal honesty, a sense of humor, and a decent set of employable skills help. I don’t think the strategy for aliyah in itself is to see how much the country would pay you, what the government would give you, how Israel will make you not regret moving here.

It comes down to: don’t come to live in Israel if you’re coming with the idea that you’re owed. I don’t think you will enjoy your experience here. Like anywhere else in the world, you have to make it work in Israel – job, health, housing, opportunity.

The only thing guaranteed when you’re handed your teudat zehut is a plastic sleeve.

(And that will rip in time).

Update: I enjoyed this post by One Tired Ema which emulates a similar line of thinking.

The state of Israel in 5758.

This is the time of year when the State of Israel has a chance to really look deep into the heart of herself and understand what condition she’s in. It’s the post-Pessach triangle of introspection: yesterday was Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) and next week are Yom HaZicaron (Memorial Day) and Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day).

When I was younger, and full of the enthusiasm and energy of Herzl’s Zionism, this triangle was one of my favorite times of the year. Yom HaShoah was the day to remember why we need a state; Yom HaZicaron was the day to remember how we’ve managed to defend the state; Yom Haatzmaut was the day to celebrate how we will continue to flourish in this state.

That was, of course, before I lived in Israel.

The state of the Jewish State is bleak. Actually, it’s quite depressing. I’m tired of hearing all those wonderful accomplishments and inventions done by Israelis; It’s not moving me anymore to see pictures of young European Jews building the kibbutzim. Those are still wonderful things, to be sure. And I do get still get teary-eyed when I sing the words to Hatikvah. But pardon me if I think there are other things we need to go back to focusing on.

On Yom HaShoah I read that Holocaust survivors’ situation is worsening. I wonder why the elderly who starved under German torture are starving under the Israeli government? How are we going to continue keeping our kids’ interested in this piece of Jewish history when we can be so nonchalant towards our grandparents, who are all nearly dead? How are we going to survive ourselves?

On Yom HaZicaron I wonder what our 18-year-old soldiers are really getting killed for. Do the sirens move Ehud Omert? When he is standing with his arms behind his back, eyes low, is he thinking about the soldiers ‘ blood or border security? Is he thinking about how embarrassing it is for us to have him as a prime minister? What is the long-term plan here? How are we going to manage to stay here in Israel? Who will fight our wars in the next 20 years?

And, finally, Yom Haatzmaut this year: turning 60. I’m having a hard time understanding why this number is worth going into debt, pouring millions and millions of shekels into frivolous parties instead of working on social programs in the State’s honor to show off the good soul of the Jewish State. I’m wondering why the government is busy making sure that no one uses the Israel 60th birthday logo without permission instead of worrying over the fact that most non-immigrant Israelis I speak to are completely disenchanted with Independence Day this year. Why celebrate a lie? Why celebrate debt?

Why celebrate the state of the State of Israel this year?

My reactions to the Winograd report.

No, I haven’t written any thoughts on the Winograd report given the other night. So what do I think, you ask?

I think the question – at this point – is how have I reacted to the Winograd report? I knew what my response would be whether or not I agreed with the outcome. It’s been planned for a while, actually.

My reaction was to take stock piles of old newspapers from the last months of Prime Minister Olmert still being in power, of terrible governing and bad governmental memories, and crumple them up, toss them into boxes, and settle my delicate glassware on the faces of ineffective world leaders.

I think it’s been a pretty healthy response, actually.

*Nudge* The kidnapped soldiers have not been returned.

It’s a year and a half later, and the three kidnapped soldiers from summer 2006 – Ehud Goldwasser, Eldad Regev and Gilad Shalit have not been returned to us.

The Keren Maor Foundation was founded to assist and support the families of these three soldiers, and to raise awareness until they are brought home from their current Hezbollah and Hamas prisons.

They have declared January 2nd to be a day dedicated to reminding Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that it is the government’s responsibility to bring back our captured brothers. In the letter below, the foundation asks citizens of Israel to send emails/letters/faxes on that date.

eulmert@knesset.gov.il

Kaplan 3, Jerusalem 91919

02-6546717

If you’d like to contact the organization, be in touch with Ilan Specter, 0524714025 or ilan-ss@nana.co.il. The foundation accepts donations here.

Protest for the Kidnapped Soldiers