Monday, December 5, 2005

Getting Wired

22 Zlatopolsky Street
Tel Aviv

As we will be in Israel for two months we cannot survive without high speed internet access. This required getting a cable modem installed in our apartment (the wire was in the wall but needed to be hooked up). For years I have listened to the horror stories about trying to get a telephone connected or plumbing fixed in Israel. When I told my cousins that the installer was scheduled for Monday between 9 and 11, cousin David the Elder (I am David the Younger) assured me that it would be Wednesday between 3 and 5, if at all.

Now some say that Israel has changed greatly in recent years. As evidence they point to the disengagement from Gaza or the election of a Mizrachi* to head both the Histadrut** and the Labor Party as major shifts in Israeli life. Well, I've got evidence that hits close to daily life. Maybe its a function of competition and globalization but the internet installer (a young Russian emigre) arrived on Monday a few minutes before 10 (after having called around 9:25 to say he'd be here in about 25 minutes). By 11 I was back on line and ready to intrude on your privacy. Those of you who have lived in Israel have to concede that either times change or miracles still happen in the Holy Land.

For those unfamiliar with some of the terms I use or those who can't figure out what I'm saying due to my diminishing ability to spell, I'll add endnotes to my blogs (yes, I know the phonetics are open to conflicting approaches, you'll just have to hang in there and feel free to post comments correcting my usage):

* Mizrachi - Israeli Jews who immigrated, or are descended from immigrants from, North Africa, Middle East or Asia. The term literally means "from the East." Sometimes also called Sephardic Jews though the Sephardim also include Jews from the European side of the Mediterranean. Until now Israel has been ruled mainly by Ashkenazim (Jews from northeastern Europe).

** Histadrut is the main federation of labor unions in Israel. Unlike AFL-CIO, this group still wields significant political and social power, to say nothing of its ownership interests in a number of businesses, a remnant of the days when socialists dominated the Zionist project.

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