Thursday, July 30, 2009

Frustrated, Furious and Humiliated

I am so furious I can barely type, my body is shaking and I cannot control my fingers...Do you remember I told you my sister is coming from Romania, to visit us? Well, an hour ago my husband called me from the airport to tell me my sister is been retained at the airport, together with other fellow passengers from the same flight from Romania and that they are questioned by the Interior Ministry. Not long ago, an entry to Israel was possible only if you had a visa (I am talking about Romanian citizens, of course). My mother came here three years ago from Germany and nodoby asked her anything when she got off the plane. My mother was married to a German citizen and she has German citizenship. Clever lady!

It is already 10.00 o'clock in the evening, the plane from Bucharest landed at 8.15 and I still don't know anything about my sister and her son.

Half an hour ago somebody from the Interior Ministry called me to ask me if I am waiting for somebody...duh...I said yes and she started asking me all kind of "tricky" questions in order to find out if the lady sitting near her in an office at the Ben Gurion airport is my sister. After a few questions she said that I am responsible for my sister to return to Romania on the date that it is written on her plane ticket, otherwise there will be consequences. I said of course my sister will return to Romania (who wants to stay in a coutry that welcomes this way its visitor?) and I am prepared to take full responsibility for her. She couldn't help herself and added: "You also, are not of Israeli origin, you married here..." I pretended I didn't understand the hidden meaning of the words and I said: "Yes, I was born in Romania if this is what you're asking...I 've lived here for 10 years and I am an English teacher"...I am not going to linger on this subject because I was humiliated enough in the ten years since I came here, with an open heart...I tried to forget everything and move on and I thought I did that, but this stupid incident reopened old wounds.
And all this because she comes from Romania...Tell me please, how many America, French, English citizens are retained at the Ben Gurion airport and interogated and humiliated? And I mean like regular guys, not terrorists or relatives of Osama bin Laden or serial killers. Only my sister, a piano teacher from Romania that came to visit her sister. Some mata Hari in disguise or... I am really pissed of, so pissed of that I am about to write all about my odyssey to be accpeted here, in Israel.

They let her enter Israel. I talked to her on the phone...She said she never felt so humiliated in her entire life. You know, my sister, teaches piano at the Music Academy in Timisoara, studies for her Ph.D. came to visit her sister in Israel. Stupid me!

O.K. I need to calm down...she'll be here any minute now and I want her to forget the ugly incident and to have fun...After she'll return home, to Romania, I'll tell you a story...
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LVLC said...

OH! I feel for you! Hugs! and as you said... just leave everything back and HAVE FUN! ok?!

Babamoon said...

oh my gosh! what an ordeal! i really hope her time with you cheers her up and you too :) xxx

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Having traveled the world as an educational consultant, I have seen a lot of this kind of thing -- and it has happened to me. Americans are not necessarily welcomed everywhere although Israel opens its arms (at least, so far).

I highly encourage you to write a book about your experiences in Israel. It can be cathartic. It could also be very helpful to someone else. If you need some guidance (I have published a dozen books under my real name, and I have now started on my second book under my pen name), I would be willing to mentor you a little. I have spent a lot of time in the Middle East (although Americans in Damascus type stuff, which is the opposite side of what you have experienced) and I have spent some time in Moldova (not Romania, but not all that different, either).

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

PS. I would add that what helps me is that I never take any of this personally. It is not meant personally, just ethnically, nationally, etc. I ignore the "grouping" and since no one has selected me (or you) as an INDIVIDUAL, then I think it is easier to get past the feelings of frustration and humiliation.

It's just a thought in case it might help.

The most important thing is that your sister has arrived, and you will have time together. Don't let anything spoil your mood and readiness to enjoy her being there. "They" cannot spoil your mood unless you let "them" -- and "they" are not worth wasting your time on!

Keep us all posted, please, on your sister's reactions and the fun things you will be doing.


Alone in Holy Land said...

Thank you for standing by me! My sister arrived yesterday night a little bit shaken but I hope she'll forget about it soon.
I'll keep you posted.
Elisabeth,thank you, thank you for what you've written. I'll be definitely in touch with you! I've already writen one book about Israel and I think it is time for the second one!

Unknown said...

This won't sound nice, but the sam ething happened to me at the Romanian border (advice from pre-EU days: if you can avoid using a Hungarian passport to go to Slovakia or Romania, do it. Stupid me never remembered to carry my Irish passport while in Hungary!), at the Moscow airport and and at the LA airport (I guess i look like a terrorist or something.)... and at Ben Gurion. I didn't have a valid Israeli passport at the time, but as I was already using my birth name at that time in my Hungarian passport, I showed up as an Israeli citizen, so it took my dad and his lawyer several hours to get me out of there and avoid prosecution.

I agree with Elizabeth: you should write a book about living in Israel as a (I assume) non-Jewish immigrant. It would be awesome.

Alone in Holy Land said...

Hevel, unfortunately we live in a world where everybody suspects everybody of...something. As for the book suggestion, I thought about it myself,first I want to translate in English the book I wrote about Israel. Maybe, I am not sure yet...

Mesina said...

ooh Ramona I am so sorry to hear you both had such an awful experience getting her here! I am happy that she has been allowed in but it must be so emotional for both of you to have to go through this kind of thing. I hope you two have a great visit and can put this behind you now.
My love and prayers to your family. x