I was feeling reflective and went back to read some journal entries from the beginning of my aliyah experience. I thought I’d share one I’d almost forgotten about…
To preface — I had attempted to withdraw cash for the first time at the ATM located inside the bank I bank with. Israeli banks assign PIN numbers and don’t let you choose your own so I just couldn’t remember it. After 3 wrong tries, the card was taken from me. And so begins the saga of getting it back…
I woke up early and went to the bank. I needed to get my ATM card back before the weekend. The ATM that took my card is located inside my branch. I walked in and waited. And waited. Not too long of a wait…but just long enough. I finally had my turn and I asked the guy for my card.
“Why did the caspomat (ATM) take your card?” he asked.
“I forgot my PIN,” I replied sheepishly. I then asked him if I could choose my own PIN so I can remember it. He laughed and said “No” with a hint of “Duh.”
And then he went on to tell me that it will take a week to get the card back. Why? Because the ATM in the branch sends the card to Tel Aviv and then it comes back. Why? Why not?
The stupid card doesn’t even work all the time. It’s like a starter check. They want you to think you can use it but it has a stamp on it that tells everyone that it’s the most basic, starter card in the world. It got denied at Max Brenner’s Chocolate Shop when the bill was only 60 shekels. So I asked the guy how many shekels I have to deposit to get a “real” card.
“What do you mean by real card?”
“You know what I mean. A real Visa card that is really accepted everywhere,” I replied.
“Five thousand shekels,” he replied.
“And how long would it take to get that card if I deposited 5000 shekels?” I asked.
So yeah. I have to give them money to give me credit. And I have to wait a week to get it. I kind of understand the whole “deposit” thing since I have no credit in this country but still…if they HAVE all my money in my account and they can see that I have enough money to cover a low line of credit, then why should it matter?