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What an education this has been

sunny 85 °F
View Israel and Jordan on paulej4's travel map.

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The time has come for us to Exit Israel. יציאה in Hebrew.

From our hotel to the Eilat airport to Tel Aviv to New York. That's the plan. Plans regarding international travel must always remain fluid. Ours is drenched.

First, the airline taking us from Eilat to Tel Aviv emails to tell us that our flight is cancelled and that we will be accommodated on an earlier flight--at 10:30am. Second, the airline taking us from Tel Aviv to New York emails to tell us that our flight is delayed by five hours (due to late inbound equipment) to 8:30pm. So, instead of a respectable three hours at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, we have nine hours to spend. But where?

Our local travel arranger-person (who speaks and writes much better Russian than English and who cannot call a U.S. phone number) told us that you cannot check in with El Al for an international flight until three hours before departure...that would mean checking in not before 5:30. We arrive at Ben Gurion on our "early" flight at 11:15am. If you cannot get to the "airside" of the terminal, you are essentially stuck on the curb. We decide to take a taxi back to the Hilton and see if they will allow us to relax--and for B4 work--and for both of us to do a final charge up of our electronic equipment in the amazing Vista Lounge on their 17th floor. For a small fee, they agree.

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GUESS WHAT? It turns out that, when we asked at the airport, she was incorrect about the check in time restriction. We could have checked in early and spent the time in the El Al Lounge after all! Arggh.

We board this 747-400 (a different one, hopefully a cleaner one) at 7:45pm; depart at 8:40pm. We will get precious little sleep upon arrival at JFK after our shuttle train/van trip to the Courtyard by Marriott. B4 has an early flight to Las Vegas for a convention and I have an early flight home to Kansas City.

While I was in Israel (and before) I read the local newspapers and learned a lot.

After we left tonight, the Israeli election—I wrote about this in an earlier post—may have to be repeated. It turns out that when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his coalition would have the support of the Yisrael Beytenu Party led by Avigdor Liberman, he was overreaching.

Avigdor is standing firm and refusing to compromise over a single issue: legislation to replace a military draft law that exempted ultra-Orthodox men. He insists on setting modest quotas for enlisting them. The religious parties adamantly oppose this and also refuse to compromise.

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Netanyahu’s party got 35 seats and must have the support of the ultra-orthodox parties, Yisrael Beiteinu and two other parties to achieve his 61 seat majority. Without Lieberman, he is left with fewer than the 61 votes he needs to form a government.

So it is not only the Blue and White Party and Yair Lapid who will make Netanyahu’s life miserable after all. And, if the press is correct, the Israeli electorate will have to spend over $130 million to re-vote. That also entails declaring an election day holiday which, it is being said, will cost the economy almost $555 million more. I assume this can't happen but we won't know until we get to New York.

As another aside, here’s a direct quote from the first few paragraphs of another article from this morning’s “The Jerusalem Post” under the headline: “The Trump tweet and Israel’s problematic future with US Democrats” seen below. It's a bit salty.

“Everybody urinates in the swimming pool, runs a well-worn adage, but not everybody does it from the diving board. Every US president interferes in Israeli domestic politics, goes the updated version of the above adage taking into account Israel’s current political mess, but not everybody does it from the diving board. US President Donald Trump, being Trump, does it from the diving board. A high diving board.”

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The analysis provider, Herb Keinon, was referring to Trump’s tweet: “Hoping things will work out with Israel’s coalition formation and Bibi and I can continue to make the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever. A lot more to do!”

As you can see and have read, Israel is a fascinating place. But the Israeli people are loud. They are loud when they disagree. They are loud when they concur. They are loud in elevators and they are loud when they are next to you on the plane. They are abrupt. They don't believe that the line you are standing in precludes them from getting in front of you. They let you know when they think you're not really worthy of their time or attention which is often the case. There are a great many--particularly in Eilat--who either don't speak English or pretend that they don't. Little here is subtle. Frankly, I am not sure that there is a Hebrew word for subtle. Google translate gives me this: עדין but translates it as "not yet."

If you followed the political party situation, you get my drift. Other than the wedding and wedding party and wedding guests, the thing that emits the most warmth here is unquestionably the weather.

This is what we choose to remember the most from Israel: Joy.

To keep you up to date, know that in ten days I depart for the Arctic Circle. B4 is staying home. Fifty-Two passenger icebreakers are not her cup of iced-tea. Should you wish to be left off that blog subscribers list, kindly let me know and I'll spare you these incessant entries.

Posted by paulej4 09:03 Archived in Israel

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Comments

Can’t wait until your next trip!
I told Cookie that we were going to cancel our cruise and just read your emails.
See you sometime in Paradise (i.e.Vero Beach).
Bill

by Bill Thompson

Paul,

Will Deborah and I fit in your suitcase to the Arctic Circle?

Denny

by Denny Haslam

Paul,

Enjoy hearing about your wonderful trips. Envious of your ability to write the way you do. BTW - I'm with Beryl. There is no Arctic Circle in my future!

by Bruce Moskowitz

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