I could spend days and days pointing out the warts of Israeli society -- the number of problems and challenges are as countless as the grains of sand or stars in the sky.
The Israeli government is almost incomprehensible; is it stupidity, evil, corruption, hatred, apathy or blindness that decides and implements policy?
Just a quick and short roundup of a few issues of the day that demonstrate the point:
In an effort to earn more money for the government's coffers, Israel now charges a towing fee for cars damaged in terror attacks.
A family of new immigrants from the United States was startled to discover the new policy while trying to overcome the trauma of the first Jerusalem bulldozer attack.The family was ordered to pay for the towing of its damaged car from the attack scene; other residents faced similar demands.
The Aizenshtats moved to Israel from the US four years ago. On the day of the bulldozer attack they were driving in their car with their three children near the construction site where the terrorist came from.
The vehicle was towed away, and later the family was contacted by a government appraiser and asked to pay NIS 685 (roughly $200) for towing the car. "We were driving and suddenly saw the bulldozer charging at us," Rochelle Aizenshtat recounted. "We were in shock and we started screaming." One of the girls in the car sustained light wounds only, but the car was seriously damaged. (YNET)
Israel is facing it's worst water shortage ever.
The town of Afula for example has created a park with a man-made lake that has been filled 4 times so far, wasting tens of thousands of cubic meters of fresh drinking water, due to the poor planning and construction of the lake which allowed the water to leak out.
The Jordan river is so low in places, that the rafting/kayaking businesses are on the verge of stopping activity. A commission has been established to examine how we got into such a mess.
The future commission is to be tasked with investigating the failures that led the various Israeli governments to disregard dozens of reports and recommendations drafted by professional committees formed throughout the years and compiling a series of short and long-term recommendations that would ensure that Israel's water supply would remain intact. (YNET)After 3 years since the Disengagement, most of the evicted families are still unemployed, in temporary housing, and without permanent housing plans.
Over the past few days, the former Gaza inhabitants discovered their belongings, mostly Holy Scriptures and additional materials that were packed at the various community synagogues and stored at a Ministry of Religious Affairs’ warehouse at Moshav Givati near Ashdod, have been severely damaged. Some of the Judaica was completely ruined and some was cast on the floor covered in mold and dust.
The SELA Administration for Assistance to Settlers from the Gaza Strip and Northern Samaria referred Tucker and his friends to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, which referred them to the person in charge of storage. He referred them to the storehouse on Kibbutz Givati, which was leased out to hold the contents of evacuated Gaza community synagogues. (read the whole sordid, sad run-around story here on YNET)The State Comptroller Committee approved yesterday the establishment of an investigative committee to look into the appalling treatment of 2005's Gaza evacuees. The State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss was quoted as saying that this was a grave problem for which "a solution must be found, and it is possible that the appropriate way to do this is through an investigative committee."
Of course, there are people such as MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz) that voted for the Disengagement who believe it was so successful that such an investigation is unwarranted and politically motivated.
MK Vilan said that the establishment of this committee constitutes "cheap populism". He added: "it pains me that instead of remaining outside of the political discussion, the state comptroller has taken a stance that will have long-term political consequences." (JPost)
So what's a person to do?
Israel is not a rose garden, yet. Till that happens, the best way to deal with life here on a daily basis when confronting the frustration of dealing with so many problems is attitude.
Yes, coming to Israel with lots of money helps. (I didn't...I came with a few hundred dollars, but then again, I was single).
Coming to Israel with a job lined up helps. (Coming to Israel with a skillset that is wanted in the marketplace really helps)
Coming to Israel with family members living here helps.
Knowing Hebrew before moving here helps.
But the #1 trait to bring with you is a positive attitude -- that you are here to make a difference, here to build the country, here to raise a family and be part of the community, and here, because it's home.
Old-time blogger Chayyei Sarah has a great post in honor of her 5 year aliyanniversary on her absorption and the 5 stages of acclimation to Israel (Euphoria, Panic, Depression, Adaption, and Acculturation).
CS writes, "But the pot of gold at the end of the absorption rainbow is . . ." (stage 5).
Life here can be difficult and scary. Building a home was difficult, taking out a mortgage was scary, the first time I showed up at the bakum (the IDF absorption center), I was in a panic when told I was about to serve 18 months (married, with 3 kids, with a job and mortgage, 18 months sounded a bit too long...but till I found someone who agreed with me, I had many butterflies in my stomach).
Yet just as life in general can be scary here, the same applies everywhere and not only here.
There is annoying beauracracy in the rest of the world. In fact, getting an Israeli passport is now easier than getting an American one in the United States. Israel has improved by light-years in terms of telecommunications. When it used to take 9 years to get a residential phone line, one can get hooked up to a phone, complete with ADSL internet in days. Customer service is now a concept in Israel that never used to exist. Look at Israel in the 1970s and 80s -- and compare the standard of living. Cellphones, food-quality and diversity, housing, tourism, the list is enormous.
So while the government may be a bunch of crooks, or even cruel hearted and corrupted, overall things have improved.
The choice to make is this; are you going to have a positive attitude and approach every problem as a challenge? Are you going to view the absorption process with a smile? Are you going to make the best of a difficult situation because we have no real alternative home?
Fixing the problems (or trying to) is the best possible solution -- so that Israel will be a better place for our children, and the olim that follow us.
CS wrote: A friend of mine said "I'm upset because I don't feel the holiness as much as I used to." I answered: "You don't notice it as much because you've become part of it." Yet, once in a while, one still can step back and appreciate it. I live in Israel.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד