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Long time no post…

So it really has been a long time since I posted here.  But as I’m back in Israel, I thought it was a good time to update.

This time I’m here for two reasons.

One – my brother made Aliyah late last year, I’ve come out to see him and his very nice new flat in Rishon Le Zion.  It seems he’s settling in nicely, just needs a good job to keep him in the style we’d all like to become accustomed to!  His Ivrit will take time, but it seems to be coming along nicely, and he was very appreciative of the care package brought from home, even if I had brought the wrong type of tea bags!  In my defence, I did buy the brand on special offer in the supermarket!

Two – my cousin gets married on Thursday (only he would set a date that clashes with the England vs Italy match in the Euros).  There are lots of family and friends here to help celebrate the occasion.

So far, well a few days in Tel Aviv being tourists, doing the Carmel Market and Nachalat Binyamin with some shopping thrown in, and pool time as well.  We’ve moved over to Jerusalem now, and plan to do more tourist type things, like the Tunnel Tour at the Wall!

More updates to come soon!

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Posted by on June 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


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So I saw this on the BBC website.  And it kind of intrigued me.  I can see points both ways of a 2 1/2 day weekend.  I mean if they changed things here so that was the case we’d all be jumping for joy right?

But… When there seem to be so many economic problems in Israel, just like in the rest of the world – and it doesn’t seem to be cheap there. I noticed that a small bottle of coke costs 8 shekels (£1.46) when the most I’ve paid here for the same size bottle has been £1.20 (okay that was in Piccadilly station and was never going to be cheap average price is around £1.10). And the whole thing about the cottage cheese protests – well if you look into it, it seems that what people are saying is that Israel is an expensive place to live, prices are rising and salaries are not rising alongside them.  Which leads into the tents in the streets because people can’t afford rents/mortgages.  And I know that is very simplified, and I’ve gone miles away from where I started.

All I can think of is that somehow it reminds me of the arguments against the Sunday Trading Laws here in the UK, because they will have to find people that are willing to work on Sundays still to cook and serve in restaurants, and go behind the tills in shops etc.  We’ll just have to wait and see  what happens.


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Posted by on August 7, 2011 in Uncategorized


Debriefed ;)

Like I need an excuse to go to London. Like I need a reason to search the national rail website to find all the cheap train tickets, like I can persuade my Mother to come with me.

The answers – yes to all of the above.

I was invited for a debriefing session, so havign finally found reasonably priced tickets, and got Dad to agree to take us, we set off on our London adventure on the 10:15. Two hours later – well London is HOT. Like 30 degrees and the tube is just stinky and vile, but as I’ve no clue how to get to the Embassy from Euston on the bus, so it had to be the tube to High Street Kensington.

We had a little shop browsing time – Whole Foods and M&S, then I left Mum to browse or hunt for Waterstones, while I went to my meeting. Okay – the one and only mistake – I go to the consular entrance, and discover they are actually expecting me at the front door. So I trot round there, then despite the fact that the copper on the gate had checked my ID – the embassy security had to double check it!

Debriefing meeting – well we talked about the programme, the good points and the bad points, who I though was a good speaker, who was relevant and so on. I was in there an hour and didn’t realise. On the plus side – blog = hit, so I’m still writing. And when it comes to Limmud next year (David, are you reading????) they said to let them know as soon as we had a date and they would be able to get us someone to come on up.

After that – well Mum and I took a walk through the park, past Kensington Palace (No sign of Wills & Kate!) and past all the other embassies on our way to Notting Hill station to go see what exactly is so good about Westfield. And I have to admit the place is impressive. Big, a designer area – no proces on display which meant that breathing was all I could afford. Once through there it was normal high street shops, fun to browse in, but we were a pair of frustrated shoppers – I tried stuff on, but nothing was right.

Met kid brother for dinner – we went to an Italian that did some really amazing smoked salmon pasta, then, all too soon we had to head back to Euston and the train home.

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Posted by on August 4, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Reality Bites

Or back to work with a bump. So far – well the chocoalte hastily bought in Zurich has been eaten, and I had people asking where I got it.

I think I also convinced a few people to consider having holidays in Israel after raving about the weather and the lack of this strange wet stuff coming down from the sky. Guess it is time to get used to highs of 17c – 19c being summer again. I’m sure it must have been twice as hot in Israel, and that I probably moaned it was too hot!

So the question is what now? It is a good question – I’m currently drafting a letter to the Rep Council here, and we’ll see what comes of it. I have a few ideas that I want to talk to them about, it’s a question of them wanting to listen and help.

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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Home at last

Although I thought I might not make it a few times….

Having done my shopping and packing, I decided on a quick shower (well quick for me!) and getting changed before trying to get three or four hours sleep. I really hope I didn’t wake Shelly – mind you I hardly noticed her getting back at half past one???

Anyway – my sherut (scheduled minibus service) to the airport arrived at 3am as booked, and I got to the airport, expecting check in to not even be open yet – my flight was 07:10, so it shouldn’t have opened until 04:10. But… There was already a queue, for the queue to go through the first security check before check in – so like a little lost sheep (baa!) I joined it, and waited 45 min to be told to go straight through to check in.

Check in desks 78-99 are dedicated to El-Al, and it was use any desk. However, 98 was for unaccompanied minors, and 99 for the disabled – of which there were none. So anyone with a brain might have started sending people through them – but no, it was one long queue. And of course the Israeli’s all had to yell at the poor girl behind the desk for 10 minutes before she could check them in, which in turn made everyone else even more stressed about missing flights – in fact some people did actually miss planes. I finally got checked in, through security and passport control and found the gate. Then I loooked at the sign. It read ‘The time now is 06:29. Boarding commences at 06:30’. Not even enough time to have a wee before getting on the plane! Although somehow – and I’m not really sure how I seemed to have ended up in premium economy. Probably because I didn’t moan at them at check in.

It was on time into Zurich and I was able to shop a little there, unlike in Israel – I was left with NIS 370 that I’d taken out to use in the Duty Free in Israel that is going to be changed back into Pounds later.

The Zurich flight took off on time – but just as things seemed to be going too well… Along come the stewardesses yelling ‘Medical Case!’ An elderly man two rows in front of me had passed out. The Cheif Steward legged it down from first class at the front of the plane and there was a bit of fuss, followed by the ‘Is there a Doctor on board’ announcement. There was, but unusually for the Swiss he didn’t speak much English – I had visions of us being diverted to Paris/Brussels (basically any place but Manchester), or turned around back to Zurich. Fortunately there was a Nurse on board who spoke bothe English and German who could interpret. The man was okay – turned out he’d just fainted.

There was a young couple sat immediately behind with a baby – who hated the attention and promptly began to yell. all in all, not a relaxing flight.

However, it was on time, and I was me by my parents. After that – well i did a quick dash to Tesco for supplies, and I was so tired that I picked up what I thought was a packet of tea cakes, only to get home and find it was actually baps!

Now – well my photos are sorted and I’m about ready to think about going to work again. It seems like a dream. But Israel did happen

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Posted by on July 18, 2011 in Uncategorized


The last day…

So it came at last, the end… It seemed so far away to start with, but then I actually got here, and things went so fast.

The day started with a trip to see disputed areas of Jerusalem – we saw from a lookout point the palestinian cities of Beit Jallah and Beit Lehem (Bethlehem), and could clearly see the security fence, which is not a wall for the whole length despite what people say. There are stretches that are just a fence, and some that are a wall – most of it is a fence. Then down to the checkpoint at Bethlehem, and then onto Sheikh Jarrah/Shimon HaTzaddik, an areadeemed to be Israel, but mostly arabs living there until recently when Jews started to move in. There was no sign of guards about, and to my eyes at least it looked a normal, if a little run down area of the city.

We also went to the Tayelet (Promenade) in Talpiot which gave a panoramic view of the city, and to the Kottel (Western Wall) where I think most of us took the chance to go and leave a note there, it is a holy place and there were clearly people of other faiths praying there and leaving notes, as well as many Bar Mitzvah celebrations taking place.

Lunch was back at the MFA, then we had a closing session, where certificates were presented, and photos taken. We ended with singing the Hatikvah, then it really was time to say goodbye.

Since then, well I went back to the hotel and dropped my stuff off, then walked to Ben Yehuda street to do some last minute shopping. Now, i have a sherut ordered for 3am, so time to repack my bags, then shower and crash out for a bit. See you again at home.

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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Uncategorized


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A second go

A second post in one day!

Just come back from dinner at Canela restaurant. As the final dinner, we had some speeches, and this time I stuck firmly to white wine and coca cola – not getting into the red like last night. As a group we had got a present for our hosts, Irit and Ami – we had a group photo taken of ourselves outside the Menorah by the Knesset, which we had enlarged and framed. One for each of them and a third for our wonderful bus driver Yaacov who has entertained us with his ukelele all week. He didn’t drtive us this evening, so we’ll get that to him tomorrow.

It was a good job we had a private room – the impromptu karaoke session was rather loud, but lots of fun. Freddie – I’m sorry, we murdered your songs, but they gave us a lot of fun, especially Bohemian Rhapsody with our intrepid international choir hailing from Venezuela, Turkey, Mexico, Uruguay, Italy, Georgia, Australia, Romania, USA, Israel, and the UK. If I missed anyone I’m sorry!

Tomorrow we are touring disputed parts of Jerusalem, then we have a closing ceremony. I hope to get some shopping done afterwards, still have a few presents left to buy.

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Posted by on July 13, 2011 in Uncategorized


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