View from Netanya

ELKAN’S VIEW 29th April 2015

Israel is a Jewish state which means that sometimes there are Jewish ways around problems. I got caught in Jerusalem some years ago doing something in the traffic that I most certainly should not have been doing. An unnoticed policeman waved me over, so I tried the usual ploy of claiming that my Hebrew wasn’t good but he spoke excellent English. The policeman explained what I shouldn’t have done, fined me 250 Shekels, said that since it was almost Rosh Hashanah he wouldn’t give me any points, and wished me a Shanah Tovah which I heartily reciprocated!

Sometimes things do seem to get out of hand. I parked free outside my son’s flat in Tel Aviv for the first day of Pesach. Later on the Saturday night -Second Seder outside Israel – I came out to find I had got ticket, issued at 8.50 pm, for parking in an area reserved for local residents.

As I left Netanya this week I received my demand for car tax for NIS1826 – just over GBP300 – which is a little steep considering I drive a hybrid. I have to pay the bill and then wait for another demand through the post which shows that the bill has been paid. I then take that and the car for its MOT, which will be another GBP60, and seems to involve a great deal of duplicate paperwork.

Often Israeli systems can be very efficient. I went to visit a friend in the gigantic Tel Hashomer hospital this week. When I came to leave I had lost my parking ticket and expected problems. Not at all! The voice at the other end of the machine asked me my registration number, told me exact l when I had come in, the machine issued me a replacement ticket, and I was on my way for the standard price.

And when I got to the airport this week, Cellcom sent me a text asking if I had remembered my passport and boarding card!