On the Way to IKEA
People, not least at Rakevet Israel, often complain that the train company has too few passengers. Well, I took the train from Tel Aviv to Bet Yehoshua yesterday (on my way to worship at the Swedish Temple of Consumption), and on this pilgrimage I realized at least why foreigners stay away:
A non-Hebrew speaker can’t take the train in this country.
Not only are all the calls over the loudspeakers exclusively in the Holy Tongue, but so are all the signs. Consequently, if you can’t read Hebrew, you have no way of knowing which trains leave from where, and at what stations they will stop. If you travel by rail even in some provincial, backward European country, you can at least rely on signs employing the Latin alphabet to figure out when to get off, but in Israel you’d be completely lost.
And if this poor foreigner, against all odds, manages to get on a train (maybe even the correct one), and then — miracle of miracles — gets off at the right station, he’ll most likely be faced with one last nasty surprise:
He won’t be able to get out.
Unless he’s kept his train ticket, that is, since you need to insert it into a machine at the exit in order for the gates to open and let you out. But the message that informs you of this minor detail is, of course, only played in Hebrew.
Entry filed under: Life.