Thursday, August 25, 2005

A Visit to The House of Justice

In order to facilitate the completion of our tax requirements as residents of Jerusalem, Sara and I made a trip to the court house yesterday and made a declaration of our finances before an offiicial clerk. This trip greatly contributed to my apprehension of mismanagement among Israel's government officials. The court house building, that austere physical representation of Justice, was a run down building with so many rooms off a long hallway that I believe the building must have served, in an earlier time, as either a hospital or a dormitory. Indications that the building had once housed a large number of people could be seen in the court house's central courtyard where a number of clothing-lines were still drawn, many indeed with clothing actually drying on them. The Israeli informality, which I have at this point grown to expect, did not permit the addition of a reception desk to the austere building's entrance and after a rigorous security check, we were left to wander the building unguided in search of the appropriate office. There not being many signs, we wandered quite awhile and it was only after some time that I noticed something suspicious about our fellow wanderers. Many, but not all, of them bore, in addition to their hoodlum-like appearance, hand-cuffs on their arms. Some were even chained on their feet as well. They, like us, were searching completely unattended and unguided for the office in which their affairs could be settled, though I daresay ours was not the same office. Upon the completion of our declaration, we initially made for the nearest exit, but stopped ourselves when we noticed that that exit was situated next to a temporary jail room into which a number of the hand-cuffed hoodlums were being herded. Afraid of the reprecussions of either being harmed by the hoodlums or accidently being herded in with them, we returned to the place of our initial entrance and made that our final exit.

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