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Return to Israel, May 14th 2012

Posted by aviel on May 19, 2012

I figured I should start writing a bit about what it’s like to return to Israel now after almost 3.5 years in Exile.

So this Monday I got up at 4.20am and my friend Martin drove me to the airport in Gothenburg where I boarded a plane to Brussels, from where I had a connection flight to Tel Aviv. Saying goodbye to family and friends was more difficult this time than on my previous travels. I feel like I’m sacrificing more this time around. I’ve waited a long time to return to Israel, where I lived from May 2006 – December 2008. I had to finish my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and finally get my Swedish driver’s license, something I put on hold for too long. I told everyone for a long time already that I planned to go back, but especially my Israeli friends doubted my intentions since so much time elapsed and people usually don’t come back no matter what they say. I guess also friends and family didn’t know how serious I was since I was evading questions on it for quite some time, I guess in order to not look like a complete fool who’s just talking and never take action.

Anyways, at the Brussels Airport I sat down by my gate a good hour before boarding. All of a sudden I hear the announcement that passengers flying with El Al to Tel Aviv who don’t have a boarding card won’t be allowed on the plane. It sounded a bit strange and I figured that I already got one in Gothenburg. But since I had plenty of time and nothing to lose, I decided to go and check it out. It turns out that if I hadn’t my trip would have ended right there and then. Apparently they wanted to do a thorough security check on all passengers and, it seems, give new boarding cards. So I was interrogated, politely, by this security guy who took special interest in my life’s story. Yes, I converted to Judaism. Yes, the reasons for that are complicated but I’ll try to explain. No, I’m not so religious as I used to be anymore. My two passports with different names in them apparently didn’t ease his suspicions either.. 😛 And the fact that I didn’t know the address of the family with whom I was to stay. After about 20 minutes of explanations I was free to go. I’m not sure what he could have done considering the fact that I have an Israeli passport, but you never know.

After a pretty uncomfortable flight, next to two Belgian French speakers who needed some of my seat as well and who slept through most of the journey, I finally arrived. Without my luggage of course. It took a day off in Brussels, then another in Tel Aviv, in order to finally arrive two days late – without any compensation of course, I mean, who would want to change clothes after only a couple of days in a much warmer climate?

Coming back felt really weird in the beginning. It’s not like I was wondering whether I made the right decision; I made the only one I could from my point of view, but I wondered if I would find my place here after so much waiting. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I hope it’s going to be worth it.

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