Navigating the Maze – Going Back to Jerusalem…and The Bank

The next morning, Wednesday October 10th, I went to Jerusalem. I needed to go to Jerusalem because I hadn’t gone since I landed, and so for myself, I desperately wanted to go. I also figured that as long as I was going to a big city, I could take care of some business as well. I got a ride from someone who was going to Jerusalem from the kibbutz. The first thing I did was go to the post office, where I registered for national health insurance. From the post office, I had a cup of coffee at the Central Bus Station, and then I started walking to Beit Nativ, the Agron Youth Hostel where I lived last year for the first semester of Nativ. On the way, a young woman asked me for directions, which I had no problem giving. I was happy that I still remembered how to get from place to place. I walked through the Shuk of Machaneh Yehuda to reacquaint myself with the sights, the sounds and smells that I had missed these last few months. I got to Beit Nativ, had lunch there, and then decided to do some more setting-up; I headed to the bank to try and open an account. Little did I know that this would be my first of several visits over the next few days to the bank.

At the airport, the Office of Absorption told me that I could use my Teudat Oleh, the certificate of Aliyah, to open a bank account, that I didn’t need my Teudat Zehut, Israeli identification card. I asked several times about this information and each time they said they were sure it was true. They lied. I couldn’t use my Teudat Oleh to open a bank account – I needed my Teudat Zehut. I learned this the hard way. I would have to wait to open a bank account until I got my Teudat Zehut. After my failed attempt with the bank, I decided I needed to do something for myself and not worry about taking care of business for a few hours, so I set out to go to the old city and the Kotel, the western wall.

I walked down Agron Street and through the Jaffa Gate, as I had done so many times before. Everything was so familiar; it was as if I had never left. I reached the kotel plaza and saw that there was going to be a swearing in of a new class of soldiers. They were from the Anti-missile unite which uses the American Patriot missile defense system. I sat in the back of the plaza and just looked at the people walking by and the soldiers waiting for the ceremony that was to take place that evening. A few soldiers started talking to me, and we ended up talking for a few hours. I went back to Beit Nativ, saw some friends who are on Nativ this year, and then went back to the Central Bus Station to take a bus back to Kibbutz. I was getting tired so I slept well on the bus ride back. The bus is from Jerusalem to Netivot, so I had to get off at a junction and catch a ride back to the kibbutz. I got back to my room and went strait to sleep.

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