The next morning, Thursday October 11th, I woke up around 7:45. I decided that I would go to Netivot, which is the nearby town, to the Misrad HaPnim, the Office of Interior Affairs, to get my Teudat Zehut, my Israeli Identification card. At the airport they told me that I could get my Teudat Zehut there, in Netivot. I got a ride from kibbutz to Netivot and found my way to the office. There was a sign on the door that said they were closed for the week. I called the office of the Regional Counsel to find out if I could go to them, and they said that I had to go to Be’er Sheva to get my Teudat Zehut as an Oleh Chadash. In the airport they had told me I could get my Teudat Zehut in Netivot. Again, they lied. I took a group shuttle to Be’er Sheva, where I found the Misrad HaPnim; it was about a 5-minute walk from the Central Bus Station. I went in, took a number, and sat down.
Here I was, the Misrad HaPnim. I had finally made it to get my Teudat Zehut, the key that would solve all my problems, at the bank and otherwise. The Misrad HaPnim is the DMV of Israel. It is set up the same way, and it is run the exact same way. You take a number and wait your turn. After waiting for an hour and a half, my number finally appeared on the screen, and I went to the cubicle. I took out all the proper documentation and asked her to make copies and take the copies. Her copy machine was out of order, so she told me to go in the next room and use their copy machine. I went to the next room but that one was out of order as well! I ended up having to run up to the 4th floor, make my copies, and then come back. I finally got her all the proper papers and passport pictures that she needed. She sent me to the last window, where I received my Teudat Zehut! On the morning of Thursday October 11th, I received my Israeli identification card; I had become an Israeli!
Later that afternoon, I went back to Netivot (during their afternoon hours from 4-6:30) and opened up my bank account. I don’t think I ever had to open up my own bank account before, so it was all a new experience. The teller said a lot of things that I didn’t understand – I think even if she said them in English I wouldn’t understand because it was banking language, something I’ve never dealt with. I would have to come back to get my ATM card and an online access code next Tuesday, but the important thing was that I now had a bank account. The bureaucracy in Israel really is a huge confusing maze that can be hard to get through, if you don’t have patience or a little bit of direction. After I finished at the bank, I took the bus back to Jerusalem where I was going to be with friends for Thursday night and Shabbat through Sunday night.