Here I am, a brand new Israeli in one of the oldest city of the country!
Getting to the point where I received the teoudat zeout (the ID card) was not that easy. You understand then why everyone keeps telling you “good luck” and why it’s not only a bad translation of “mazal tov”.
I was questionned again a lot at the airport , which didn’t surprised me given how many questions I was asked last time. But at some point the guy asked me if I had been questionned a lot the previous time. Since I was surprised, he showed me the yellow sticker with a number on the back of my passeport and said he had to bother me because of that and that I should have removed it. After a few other questions and some to my father (who probably found it funny to answer with other questions… Thank you dad but I’m not sure it’s the good moment to be funny) I was finally allowed to check my luggage in. Should I say that I probably had more than 20 kg of overweight, in addition to the extra 45kg I was allowed to take? Fortunately my “examiner” told them to let it go since I was doing my alyiah.
Later on my way to the plane, a 45ish year old guy asked me if I needed help with my luggage. Since it was probably as heavy as a regular baggage hold luggage and had no wheels, I accepted his offer. Once in the plane he offered me to come next to him as there was enough place and so I wouldn’t have to sit next to religious boring people. Since I wasn’t sure I wanted to be stuck with him for four hours, I went to my seat first and sat there until the aisle was clear. Suddently, my “examiner” came to me and showed me what he was holding in his hand, asking if it was mine. I looked at the object and said “yes it’s my hard disk, the one I use for backups.” He went on asking if I had used it for other purspose, if someone else had used it and other crazy questions.
Since this moment I wonder if the 30 minutes delay our plane had was because they were scanning my hard disk…
I finally went to the back of the plane next to the guy and we talked during almost the whole flight. Among other things, he said I should be careful with Israeli guys. That’s probably a good advise.
At the arrival, there was supposed to be someone from the ministry of integration to welcome the new immigrants but of course no one was there. I had to wait in a corner for a while, and the girl I saw in Geneva with her 4 luggage who I guessed was also doing her alyiah came to talk to me. After minutes that seemed like hours we have been lead to the integration office where two woman took “care” of us. We were probably supposed to pour our self a glass of water or use the phone if we needed to but how could we guess?
I have been asked which medical insurance I wanted, knowing that there are four of them and they are all exactly the same. And the four of them have offices in Be’ersheva. How I am supposed to choose? So I told the lady “Whatever, pick one for me!”. To which she replied “well in that case, you will have to go to the post office to choose”. I replied no, I wanted to choose now, she just had to tell me which one was the best for me according to her, and she kept telling me “in that case, go to the doar (post office)”. So I turned toward the other French girl and asked her which one she had chosen, and I told the lady I wanted the same one. She replied “Good choice.” I think when she saw my incredulous look she felt the need to add “I’m not allowed to give you any advise on that matter.” She then asked if I wanted a SIM card for my Iphone (I knew that I would receive 200 minutes of call) but I told her my phone was locked and I needed to buy another one first so she shouldn’t give me one for Iphone. After she gave me other things and oriented me to the next office, I asked her if I could have the SIM and she replied it was too late, she had closed the file and she couldn’t give it to me anymore. Welcome to Israel! I was super mad. I’m still frustrated actually, that was so stupid. Well it seems that it was only the first time I would have to pay for things I shouldn’t have too…
I won’t go on about the other guy in the second office who was speaking French but who neither I nor the French girl could understand and was super unpleasant, nor about the troubles on the road that transformed my allegedly one hour taxi drive into a 2.5 hours trip with a taxi driver who couldn’t speak a word of English and made me talk Hebrew the whole time while I was super tired.
My professor had said he’d wait for me to give me the keys; he just didn’t know that I would have 3 hours of delay (I feel that I already become a true Israeli there). So when I showed up at the university at 9 instead of 6 he said that although he had planned to take me to have diner somewhere, everything was closed by now so he got me a pizza because he wanted to be sure I would still be alive the day after. After such a long trip and the fight to find my computer charger amongst my 4 suitcases and get connected to the internet etc etc… I can’t describe how welcomed was such an act of kindness. He even sent me an email to appologize because the pizza was far from being the best one he ever had, but it was heaven to me.He also explained me that he already had scheduled visits for flats the day after and he would come pick me up and visit with me because it was always better to have an Israeli person with you. I would never imagine any European professor acting so nicely!