Tuesday, February 12, 2008


A frequent question I get when I tell my story goes something like this: Gila, your friends managed to track down your father Saturday night. He only arrived in Israel on Tuesday afternoon. Are the international air travel delays really that bad?

As any Israeli can tell you, (and in particular, my friend Kayla), the answer to that question is a resounding "YES, if there is a general strike". In this instance however, the answer is slightly more complex and requires more background. As follows: my sister is something of a globetrotter who never lets minor details like military unrest, student crackdowns, government-established bounties on the heads of Americans, etc. get in the way of her travel plans. I, as you know, moved to Israel. My father, being the rational and level-headed physician that he is, responded to this state of affairs by sticking his passport into a safe deposit box at the bank on the basis that, this way, he would never need it. Otherwise known as--not accessible if one wishes to take advantage of a last-minute travel deal or go see your daughter who has been injured in a bombing. My father spent nearly two full days cooling his heels in the States until he was able to get on a plane to Israel. The experience, to put it mildly, was traumatic.

Recently, I got to wondering: what lessons did my father learn from the experience? I decided to ask him.

Me: So, Dad, do you still leave your passport in the safe deposit box in the bank?

Dad: Oh no! Now I keep it at home.

Me: (touched) Don't worry Dad, I know, I know, I am still not allowed to be in another bombing.

Dad: (chuckling) Oh, it's not that.

Me: (startled) Emmmm…it's not?

Dad: Nope! It is the new TSA rules. Pretty soon I am going to need my passport to fly to Florida [ed: location of hospitable in-laws with beach house].

Me: Oh, well then. Good to be prepared!

Dad: Yep!

Where terrorists and all of the world's other assorted lunatics have failed, TSA has succeeded.

Better not let the local terrorist organizations get wind of this.


Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

UNbelievable. Internal passports. USSR anyone?

Jack Steiner said...

Some years ago I had a friend who had a medical emergency in Boston.

At that time his father was on a trip somewhere in Australia. Of course as soon as he heard about his son he made arrangements to fly back to the states.

But it still took close to two days for him to get back. Sometimes it doesn't matter whether the travel gods cooperate with you, circumstances just make it incredibly difficult to move quickly.

Lawstudent said...

I saw this and immediately thought of you. I read a lot of blogs, and I've been learning as much as possible about Israel, but from everything I've read, I feel your blog does the most to foster a desire to understand and to spark a sense of longing for Israel. I could be wrong, but I think you would likely win the contest.

Gila said...

I took a look---I suspect that they are looking for people who are more representative of the right wing than am I. But I might try anyway....

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?