Thursday, December 18, 2014

Splitting over Christmas

I was glad to be able to bring a piece of the Dead Sea to the children, but sorry that they could not be there. I am still angry that David could not fly due to the random application of the 6th month validity of passports rule. His passport was valid for only 5 months after our return instead of 6 and this was deemed not enough. Since Edward did not want to spend his Christmas without David, they both returned home with my mother.  Israel is the one country in Asia that does not have the 6 month valid rule for travelers, but the neighbouring countries do. This means the requirement is not listed on most embassy websites (or on the Easy Jet site), but still enforced at the discretion of the airlines. Not splitting a family for Xmas is the definition of where they should have made an exception. David had school, and had to be back, and I had work and so there was no chance of either of us wanting to stay in Israel for any time beyond the date on our return tickets.

To allow David on the plane, EasyJet asked for a letter from Israeli immigration with David’s name stating that he should have been allowed to fly. Of course, a number of people behind us were denied boarding for this same reason after waiting in along line for the checking of the validity date on their passport. EasyJet should have done this on the computer before printing the boarding passes, and avoid the line, but then they get less money because people plan advance and do not need to reschedule flights. So, there was not time to secure letters. Further, the Israeli border/immigration are some of the most unpleasant authorities on Earth and do not generally write letters. When we were in customs, they stated they would have agreed to talk to the airline, only if the airline called them, and they were not available when the airline called them. So much for customer service.

While waiting for the world to be fair place to live in, I will be changing David’s passport and deal with other bureaucracy for that, which involves documents apostilated according to the Hague convention, and translated by an authorized translator, and more waiting in line. The Israelis officials told me that I made the choice to split when could have chosen to not go at all and canceled all 4 of my seminars, and so it’s all my fault and I should not complain. And, then, of course, they said that plenty of idiotic rules exist in the US and in Europe, which causes them to be mistreated, too [and so it's perfectly justified to behave the same way instead of trying to avoid and correct problems].

I was impressed by the lack of ability to question any kind of authority, while being on average more intelligent than people in the rest of the world. When traveling through this beautiful country full of treasures and temples, one sees so many people who read: in buses, trains, planes or even on the street. Furthermore, highly educated people in Israel are the only educated people on Earth who have a significant number of children (3-4 per professor vs none or one or two in other countries with none being the more prevalent number), which may make them the only possible leaders of the next generation. Yet, based on the lack of progress and the low income in the territories they occupy, they also have a feeling of entitlement and superiority that the Nazis must have had when prosecuting Jews that does not come with much regard for a human life that is not their own. Will the new generation be better or worse? It's hard to tell: neither their parents nor they extended families spend much time with them, both parents are encouraged to work long hours, grandparents live their lives, etc. Europe seems better than either Israel or the US in its treatment of both working and non-working mothers, and I am glad for that.

I did meet a large number of very talented people with whom it was a joy to interact. So, I should not be so negative. Additionally, since I gave four seminars, their center for excellence reimbursed my expenses and gave me a large perdiem, which covered all loses and left some extra income. However, I still wonder if my priorities are right. I spent the first part of my visit  depressed and crying without obvious motive, and my first talk sucked. Luckily, the other 3 went well, but I still wonder: should I have gone? or should I have stayed home with Edward and David or  even taken them somewhere else instead? It’s just one more time when I am placed in a tight corner and made to choose by righteously feeling bureaucrats between family and career. How often should I make this choice even for little things like a trip over Xmas? Are they right in blaming me? after all I choose to work and stay in science instead of on a farm when I can afford a farm ... so should I choose living on a farm instead? is all my education just dust without much value? am I of any value?

No comments:

Post a Comment