The grind of israeli life

Trip Start Nov 13, 2006
Trip End Oct 21, 2008

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Flag of Israel  ,
Monday, December 3, 2007

On Sunday morning I first started to get annoyed with Israeli life. I had bought a monthly bus pass for 300 odd shekels and was looking forward to being be to jump on and off any bus I wanted. Today I was off to Jerusalem for a steering comittee meeting and needed to take a bus up Ahuza street to the Raanana junction from where I could take the 947 to Jerusalem. the buses in Israel are quite frequent and I said in my best ivrit 'tsumet' (junction) to each driver that stopped. They each said 'lo' (no) whilst waving their fingers until a bus which had the word tsumet written across the front pulled up but turned me away for no apparent reason.

The next 3 buses were all going to 'tsumet', but now I discovered that they were Egged company and my pass was only valid for 'Dan'. Having already shelled out on a pass I decided on principle to walk to the junction and made myself late (which was pretty silly considering that my travel would have ben covered). Thankfully it turned out that the Palestinians were all late anyway as they were having problems with their permits.

The steering committee was made up of academics deciding how to proceed with the mountain aquifer project, which aims to get Israelis and Palestinians working together to protect the underground drinking water which supplies 1/3 Israeli and all of Palestinian drinking water. Needless to say a recent FOEME report showed that lack of water could pose a serious threat to Middle East security. The main obstacles to this project were 1) money 2) Isaeli imposed restrictions on movement to the Palestinians 3) the municipality clan structure in Palestinian towns - people rise to power through family or clan structures. If someone in the same family is doing the polluting the municipality officers were prone to turn a blind eye. However the town we were looking at today - Um el Fahen -  had a democratically elected leadership. Despite the problems everyone was optimistic, and one senior lecture expressed that peace could break if people at the grassroots such as on this project wanted it. He likened it to Northern Ireland where it was the will of the people rather than the politicians that paved the way for change. The hotel provided nice tea and cakes and I got to show off the snazzy powerpoint I had been working on for a while.

That evenuing I went to my Ulpan class in Tel Aviv where I study ivrit twice a week. It turned out they were putting on a Hannuka party.
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