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Israelis Stranded Abroad

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Last Updated on July 6, 2021

 

Week Six

Day 37 – February 28th

Sunday – I spend a quiet day on my own.  I buy more internet data.  Its much cheaper in South Africa.  I have made and received so many messages and calls on WhatsApp that I am surprised my phone has not self destructed.

I take my usual 2km, daily stroll on the beach. It puts life into proportion and keeps me sane. Families are having fun.  It’s wonderful seeing the young children delighting in the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Children are all the same; they love digging and pouring water, being buried in the sand, running into the waves and then back to mom. Mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, young lovers and children, all having fun.

I make chopped liver according to my mother’s recipe. Yum!

My daughter and I usually make challot together on Friday afternoons.  She tells me that since I left, her challot have not come out well.  I miss her and she misses me.

Still no response from the MK’s today. I give up on that expectation.

Day 38 – March 1st

I have work and family commitments as do all the other thousands of Israelis who are stranded abroad. I hear more stories of people trapped across the globe with no income, mounting debts and little to live on. The situation in Frankfurt continues to be deplorable. Some send photos via the WhatsApp group.  Some have been at the corona hotels for a few days and their luggage has not yet arrived.  They have to manage with the little they had in their hand luggage.

My daughter sends me a video clip from Channel 13 – the airport could open on March 7th. The topic of the elections is cited as a reason.  With no postal vote for citizens abroad (except for a select few) the government must give into pressure from the opposition to bring this significant number of citizens back. The matter is not yet official but it gives us all some hope.

On the other side of the fence, my sister-in-law has not seen her son and his family since December when they left to visit her family in Brazil.  One easily forgets about the emotional trauma of family members back in Israel who are also battling the current situation.

Day 39 – March 2nd

8:30 a.m.

Still no final decision. This morning’s news reports a new set of conditions if the airport opens.  All those that can present a vaccination certificate will not need to self-isolate except for those coming from red countries. The official list of red countries on the government website has not been updated since December.  Currently South Africa is red on that list.

Some members of the WhatsApp group are already booking tickets. I will only book a ticket when everything is clear, finalized and published.

My husband has apparently been eating oven chips, fried eggs and air for the last 5 weeks. My daughter says that the cupboards and fridge are bare and the food I left in the freezer is almost finished. Accounts and bills and other household admin I take care of, remain unattended to.

1:45pm

Still no final decision.  Waiting for the corona cabinet to decide my fate.

3:20pm

It’s reported that ten locations will open their airports and among them; New York, Frankfurt, London, Paris and Kiev.  I cannot find the full list. Is Addis Ababa among them?

I consider myself be a level-headed sort of girl.  I am rational and take responsibility for my actions. My heart generally doesn’t  govern my head.  This afternoon it’s different – I am beginning to lose it. I go to the beach again – it’s become my secret crying place.

S tells me to calm down.  He says that I am partially responsible. “You knew when you left that you could have trouble getting back and yet you still decided to come. You could have chosen not to”.  I am a little taken aback. “How could I have not come?  Are you suggesting that I shouldn’t have come to my mother’s funeral? I could have never lived with myself if I didn’t come” is my answer. He replies “I understand where you are coming from. You just need to do what it takes to see it through”.

Day 40 – March 3rd

3:00 a.m.

I have been lying awake for a while and trying to relax myself back to sleep. No luck!  I check the messages on my phone.  There are messages from 3 friends who have sent me the latest information. An article in the Jerusalem Post (JP) reads; “From March 7th, 3,000 citizens will be allowed entry into Israel. The number of flights allowed to operate from Ben Gurion Airport will be determined by the Transportation Ministry together with the Health Ministry”.   MK Dov Lipman’s Facebook page says “Israelis can return to Israel with no pre-approval [from the Exceptions Committee].  3,000 will be allowed in per day – the number of flights allowed will ensure that number.”

It’s all good news, I hope.  To me it’s still not clear if there will be a restriction on citizens returning from South Africa. I will have to see what information unfolds as the day progresses.

Morning has come and I scour the papers again.  I come across a new article in the JP that reports Miri Regev – Minister of Transport has cut the number further. Instead of 3,000 people per day she is now only going to let 1,000 Israelis in (from 4 locations across the globe) and 1,200 outgoing travelers. MK Dov Lipman’s updated Facebook post reads that he will lobby Knesset members to fight against this in the committee hearings today regarding the government decision.

I have made a decision.  I will not look for updates for the next 24 hours.  The constant changes are driving me to drink.  I am going to take some time for myself.  I will not let this all get to me.  If the skies are going to open on March 14th as promised, its just another few days. I say to myself – “Savlanut geveret” – patience madam.

Day 41 – March 4th

Good news! Auntie is booked on a flight to Tel Aviv on March 11th. Her niece gives me the name and number of the person in charge. A very helpful lady who tells me that its an Aliyah flight only.  In Addis Ababa auntie will be joining new olim from Ethiopia on a special charter flight organized by Israel which is for olim only. I wish auntie the very best of luck in this new chapter of her life.

The other young oleh couple are also booked on this flight and that is good news too.

I call the airlines to check if there are any flights.  She tells me that no flights to Tel Aviv have been scheduled and that I should call back on Saturday to check the status.

I speak to my husband, he asks me where he can buy chicken – we’ve run out. I think to myself  “try a supermarket”.

Day 42 – March 5th

Today is Friday, erev Shabbat.  I am grateful for the distractions that the day and Shabbat preparations will bring.  Our mother made wonderful perogen and chicken soup – that’s on tonight’s menu.

There is a message in the WhatsApp group that the Exceptions Committee has not been dismantled as previously reported. 

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