So yesterday we made the unavoidable return back into the bowels of the Interior Ministry to renew my tourist visa. As much as we had hoped that my work visa application would be resolved by now, we are still waiting on that all important final document from the UK – a fully legalised copy of my clean criminal record.
As on previous occasions our early morning venture involved hanging around in bleak corridors, meticulous questioning by non-smiling female bureaucrats, followed by verbal chastisement for not having the necessary documents – documents we were never told we needed in the first place.
Thankfully this time around we were in and out of the place within an hour. Of equal importance my passport now bears a large fat sticker from the Israeli Ministry of the Interior allowing me stay another 3 months. It may still say “Not Permitted to Work” but we’re hopeful that when my police check arrives from the UK obtaining my work visa shouldn’t be too difficult. But then again…
Unfortunately the stamp also signifies my guaranteed non-entry into almost all Arab countries (bar Egypt and Jordan) because of…well, there is no reason. It’s just plain silly politicizing of something that needn’t be politicized.
Otherwise I hope you all have a Happy New Year wherever you may be. We’ll be celebrating the evening here in Jerusalem along with an American friend of ours who’s in Israel for a few weeks. As Judaism operates on a different calendar – their new year’s eve celebrated in September (we’re way ahead in the year 5770 by the way) – it can’t be said that New Year’s Eve is as big a deal as elsewhere. Still people will be swarming the pubs and clubs up and down the country so we should have a good night out regardless. If not, then the evening after we’ll be back in the Kibbutz where there’s supposedly a free “all-you-can-drink” party. I will report back.