Arnon Grunberg

On time


The last time I arrived in Israel in the spring of 2008 an overzealous immigration officer stopped me, undoubtedly this was connected to Lebanese stamps in my passport.
(Read the entry about this incident here.)
I was asked to wait, I waited for an hour or so, then I was questioned briefly and finally I could enter the country.
This morning an elderly and friendly employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs waited for me at Ben Gurion Airport.
Thanks to this man I was waved through immigration and customs.
(This time I'm here for the International Writers Festival.)
Not too long ago overzealous Israeli immigration officers sent a famous Spanish clown back to Spain.
Therefore we need employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to control overzealous immigration officers. And this is why I love bureaucracies.
But it’s definitely not only an Israeli problem.
A friend of mine who was asked to teach in the US couldn’t start his classes on time because he had problems getting a visa.
And if I’m not mistaken quite a few scientific conferences are not held in the U.S. anymore, because too many scientists cannot get a visa, or at least cannot get a visa on time.