A “pakid” (pakidim plural) is a clerk in Hebrew.From vast experience I have a very bad opinion of Israeli clerks. They have that typical Jewish attitude, “why am I serving you, you should be serving me, so I’m going to make your life a misery.” I well remember the clerk in the Jerusalem office of the Ministry of the Interior when I was sent by Hebrew University to extend my visa there in 1976, who said to me “I shouldn’t do this for you, but I’m going to do you a favor.”
Well, coincidentally today Naomi and I had to go to different offices and deal with clerks and lo and behold the world has changed.
I had to renew my Israeli passport, so I went to the Ministry of Interior office nearby in Netanya. Everything is very nice, you get a number at the door, there is an electronic number on the wall, and the waiting room is large, modern, bright and air conditioned. I remember what it was like when we made aliyah 11 years ago and you waited in a hot dark corridor without numbers, so you had to stand in line for hours. Now it is a pleasure. But, my number was well beyond the number on the indicator (717 vs 640) I thought “this is ridiculous, I’ll be here for hours.”
There was a pleasant young woman with a name tag walking around checking that people were in the right place and answering questions. She helped several women with babies, including some Arab families. When she came close to me I asked her if I was in the right place and how long it would take. She answered me helpfully and then went away. Soon she came back and slipped me a number tag that was much lower (657) than the one I had. When my new number came up and I got to one of the clerks at the desks she was very helpful and I was out of there in a total of 45 mins. Wow! And it didn’t even hurt.
I also had to go to the car dealer (Toyota) to have a broken back light repaired and they did it in 10 mins – no charge!Naomi by chance had to renew her US passport, which had to be sent to the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, and required a cashier’s check. Would you believe that in the absence of her usual bank clerk (who is assigned to us and is very good) noone seemed to know how to prepare a cashier’s check (or they didn’t want to). So they said, why not send cash and they called the US Embassy to check that it would be acceptable (no checks). Then the young woman who was helping Naomi said “I’ll go with you” and she took her to the Post Office nearby and checked with the Post Office clerk that it was Ok, and together they organized everything, and all Naomi had to do was to pay! What is the world coming to?
So I want to tell everyone, make aliyah now, its a unique experience being in Israel, and soon the Messiah will come!


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