Gefilte Fish Out of Water

F#ck yeah !!!
March 8, 2009, 9:37 pm
Filed under: Official Immigrant Stuff

untitledI had an amazing day today.  I FINALLY got my Teudat Zehut, which is the important I.D. card every Israeli is supposed to carry around at all times.  I thought the I.D. I got at the airport (Teudat Oleh) made me official, but nuh-uh; THIS is the thing I needed to get.  But there were a few more wrinkles along the road today.

I set out early to the Ministry of the Interior to get it.  I was armed with everything I needed (so I thought): letter the Ministry of Absorbsion gave me from the airport, Passport, two new passport photos.  I wait in line, go through security, take a number, wait patiently, and then it’s my turn.

What is the first thing the woman processing me asks?  “You have the letter?” she asks.

“Letter?” I say. “What letter?”

“Proof you are Jewish.”

[pause, for mind to begin reeling]

“No, I already gave that to Nefesh b’Nefesh & the Jewish Agency for Israel during my Aliyah application process.  I didn’t bring that.  But look, I have this letter and that letter and buh-buh-buh and ba-ba-ba, and look – here’s my Hebrew tattoo, and my star of David, and I’m wearing my Jewcy shirt, and you want me to pull down my pants and show you my circumcized penis?”  (OK, that last thing I didn’t say – but I did effing think it.)

“Eh, sorry, you need that letter, too.  Here (she writes a note and gives it to me) – you don’t need to take a number and wait next time; just get it and come back.”

“Is there anything else I need to bring?  It’s just the passport, the two passport photos, the airport letter, and the proof-that-I’m-Jewish letter – that’s all, right?  There’s nothing else?”

“That’s all.  Nothing else.”


Go to Ministry one time and get shot down.  Cute.  Go back and get shot down 2nd time.  Less cute.  Return two days later and get shot down unexpectedly a 3rd time.  Decidedly less cute.  But whatever.  It’s pretty warm out, and I’m schvitzing, and it’s 9am now, and I’m supposed to be finished with my immigrant stuff by noon, b/c that’s when our I.T. guy is coming by to make all our computers faster and link them into a network.  So, I hop on a bus and head back home for a drive-by to pick up the letter and come right  back.  Smooth sailing….until we turn the wrong direction.  Note to self: Bus # 89 turns off Ibn Gvirol.

Head back to the Ministry.  9:45 a.m.  Line for the metal detector much longer now.  Stupid, fat-ass, slobby Israeli guy waddles up next to me instead of getting in line behind me.  I box him out.  He waddles ahead next to the person 3 people ahead of me, where the official rope starts.  Cuts in front of that person.  Tries for a fourth, but (aided by the ropes), a young woman finally heads him off.  Watching him try and pass her is a fun pastime for me as I navigate the line.  He makes a final attempt around the line’s last corner, but she matches him move-for-move.  She looks disgusted at him.  I’m at least a little vindicated that someone else besides me can’t believe this guy.  What makes him so special that he doens’t have to wait his turn?  Incredulous.

Even more ridiculous is the tall-but-humpbacked, German-looking guy who literally cuts THE ENTIRE LINE in a matter of 30 seconds, holding his I.D. up as if he works there and is really important and must get through.  The guy passes everyone in the entire line and no one stops him and he is through the metal detector in a matter of seconds.  Wow, I’m dumbfounded.  This guy could teach seminars on line cutting.

Anyhow, the security guard is nice to me, and I bitch to him about how many times I’ve had to go and come back.  “Don’t give up,” he says.

I get back to the main area, where the processing is done.  My number is ten numbers above the number they’re actually on.  I take a page from the Israeli playbook.  I don’t sit down, but stake out a place, standing behind the woman, who sent me away 45 minutes earlier.  I can’t find the note she wrote me, but it doesn’t matter.  When, she finishes with the young Euro-looking couple with baby she’s processing, I just walk up and sit down oppositte her befofre she can press the button and advance the number.

Bitch doesn’t even recognize me.  “Yes?” she asks. 

“It’s me, I was here 45 minutes ago.  I got the letter.  Proof that I’m Jewish.”

“Oh, you,” she says.  Bitch actually has the gall to ask me, “Eh, do you have birth certificate, by any chance?” 


(desperately) “Uh, no, it’s at home.  You said there was nothing else.”

“It’s OK.”  WHEW.  Bitch was just playing with me.

Smooth sailing from then on.  I forgot to tell her to change my name to Scott Ze’ev Piro; so once again, I am Frank Scott Piro in Israel, too.

She signs some stuff on the back of one of my passport photos, gives me a receipt, and sends me to a window down the hall, where a gum-chewing teenybopper takes the photo, presses it into a machne, and *VOILA!*, I have my Teudat Zehut!  I kiss it and exclaim how happy I am to have it.  She smiles.  On the way out, I show the nice security guard and do a little dance.  Outside the building, I tell another security guard how hard it was to get, and how happy I am, too.  He smiles and congratulates me.

I enjoy my moment.



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[…] work.  I have experienced many instances of Israelis cutting in front of me in line, owning the sidewalk, pushing me to get on the bus first; every cliche of how someone could put […]

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[…] stuff” in months – and thank God, because there’s been no reason to.  Once I got my Teudat Zehut (official state I.D. card) and health insurance and passport, there’s just been no need to […]

Pingback by Getting Driver’s License – parts 1 & 2 « Gefilte Fish Out of Water

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