Where are you going?

Traveling is a whole ordeal. Getting to the airport, going through security, reaching your gate in time, etc. Traveling to/from Israel means extra security and lots of questions.

Anyone who has been to Israel before knows to expect an interview with a security agent. When I had only American citizenship, these questions were rapid, random, and, for the most part, irrelevant to my life in anyway. (Let’s be honest here – no one remembers what their Bar Mitzvah Haftorah portion was.) Now that I also have an Israeli passport, this security interview is much faster and more straight to the point. The questions are still quick-fired, but more for the sake of efficiency than anything else. Having an Israeli passport means that even though I arrived 3 hours early for my flight, I only spent 5 minutes of that time waiting in line for that part of security. 

The best part of this interview is that after it ends, a new one begins. I’m not talking about a security check anymore. This is more of an interrogation. Or, as some would call it, a normal interaction with Israelis. Airports are the best place to people watch: who is this person? is he going home? on vacation? alone? is someone waiting for him? These are all questions that, in Israel, are perfectly acceptable to ask complete strangers. Once this conversation begins, it’s hard to stop. The trick is to shut it down before the questions get past a certain point. If your relationship status is brought up, it’s game over and there’s no going back.

While waiting in line to check into my flight, an old Hassidic man was interrogating (whoops, I mean conversing with) an elderly Russian man. They were switching between Hebrew, Yiddish (people still speak Yiddish?) and a little Russian. While the languages were impressive, as soon as the Hassidic man turned and made eye contact with me, I knew I was next. 4:30 in the morning is not my optimal conversation time, so I successfully avoided him.  

Another benefit of living in Israel: Not only is my security check quicker, but I have also learned the art of evading an inevitable inquisition from a stranger. 

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