Thursday, November 18, 2004

Red Tape, Red Tape Everywhere

Immigrants to Israel like to complain about how "stupidly" things are run here, and how much bureacracy we have to plow through.

Now, it's true that many things about the way Israeli society is run are pretty dumb, and there is a lot of bureacracy.

But the people who make these comments tend to forget that much of the bureacracy stems from our being immigrants, not from our being in Israel.

If you want to talk about red tape, call someone who immigrated to America, speaks only Spanish, and is dealing with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. THEY can talk about red tape! In the land of the free!

The people who complain about this stuff also tend to forget that, back in America, they had to stand on lines to get their driver's license, to get their passport, to mail a package, etc etc. Lines, lines everywhere. It's part of the human condition. It's not about Israel.

I'm not saying that everything in Israel runs smoothly and intelligently. I'm saying that the holy land does not have a monopoly on bureacracy and stupidity.

Finally, I've noticed that things are improving here. Between my last visit in 1994 and my aliyah in 2003, there have been changes. Government forms are available online, the customer service at large companies is improving, lots of paperwork is being turned over to computers . . . . the changes may be small, but they are there. There is yet hope.

And, for anyone who still isn't convinced that Israel does not have a monopoly on stupidity, please refer to the latest posting at my sister's blog, about how my brother-in-law can't visit his family in Brazil because he'd be arrested upon arrival . . . . the big criminal!

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