After an excellent night’s sleep (my jetlag remedy: DO NOT SLEEP until bedtime and pop some melatonin prior to hitting the hay) and a really wonderful Israeli breakfast (that was one of the reasons I chose Ruth Dan Residence), I set off for Haifa. Once again, the drive was pure hell. Getting out of Tel Aviv was awful city driving even though I knew where I was going this time. Once in Haifa, though, it was déjà vu. I was totally without a clue as to where to find Haifa University and the first two times I stopped for directions, the first question was “Do you have NIS (gps)? And I’m thinking, “No, I don’t have GPS! Why do you think I’m asking for directions?” My other dilemma is that I ended up in a toll booth to go under Mt. Carmel and still had not found a bank at which to change money, so no shekels to pay. Fortunately, they took my credit card, and this one had not yet been cancelled. My other misfortune was not having had the foresight to notify my bank and credit card companies of my travels, so both my ATM and my main credit card had been blocked. Fortunately, Travelocity seemed to have put two and two together and didn’t cancel that card. Anyway, enough of my trivial travails – lessons learned/words from the not very wise.
So, after having given myself what I thought was more than ample time to get to my appointment with Professor Israel Doron (Izzy as he likes to be called), I was way late, having been lost and then having huge difficulty finding a parking spot at University of Haifa. Getting in was also interesting, I was given a grilling at the gate before being allowed entry and once in, there was a feeling of being in a fortress. Izzy’s building was the biggest building on campus – a huge high rise that loomed into the sky. The University sits on top of Mount Carmel. It seemed like it was in its own little biosphere. Clouds were swirling low overhead and there was a fierce wind.
In spite of my tardiness, I was greeted very cordially by Izzy and his colleague Carmit Shay. The two of them peppered me with questions about elder law in the states and I reciprocated with my own questions. The big take away for me is how much better Israel is at taking care of their elderly than is the US. That said, like in the US, they are being threatened with cutbacks in the face of the fiscal crunch that is affecting a huge portion of the lower and middle classes. In sum, I was very happy with the meeting, and I’ll be submitting a short article to the National Academy of Elder Law’s monthly news magazine.
Parts of the drive to and from Haifa were breathtaking. I was able to pull over and snap this shot overlooking Haifa and the Mediterranean as I was leaving the university which gives a sense of how high up it is.
I was also able to pull over and get put my toes in the sea. The water was warmer than I expected for this time of year. For a Mainer, I would say it was swimmable, although there wasn’t a person in sight venturing into the water other than the wetsuit clad sail surfers.
Once again, Palestine on my mind, my thoughts turned to all of those people living the West Bank who have never been to the Mediterranean and may never have the opportunity to dip their toes in its beautiful waters because they are not allowed. And even though Gaza has a nice stretch of Mediterranean coast, few people from the West Bank are even allowed entry there, in spite of it being the other Palestinian territory.