The Various Jews of Israel:
TWELVE noon to 3 PM in Israel …the government offices which opened at nine, and which will close at five (with a half hour from ten to ten-thirty and another one from four to four-thirty for tea and ugot) for the day, are now practically abandoned for the three-hour lunch. If lunch were cut down to an hour, or even an hour and a half, these offices could operate on a five-day week. But suggest it. Just try. You will get a ferocious eye-rolling, brow-lifting, shoulder-shrugging cry of, “But we are a Young Country! Our economy cannot stand a five-day week!”
Twelve to three . .. at this time, all over the country, a multitude of governmental, institutional, political, and other varieties of officials, are entertaining foreign visitors for lunch, and telling them identical stories. Every official remembers when everything between Jaffa and the Gymnasium was sand · . . when everything between the Gymnasium and the Yarkon was sand … when everything between the Gymnasium and the sea was sand…. “Sand! Sand!” they cry, waving their arms, and looking like people who remember when Wall Street was considered uptown . . .one gets the impression that the Gymnasium stood stark and aloof in the midst of the dunes, like the statue of Ozymandias, and that it was attended only by Bedouins. And not only that. Each official remembers the Old Days, when “we made five piasters a day. Five piasters! And we saved three!” But progress has been made. For the same work, laborers now get 140 piasters, and can’t save anything. And who has done this? Who has put all these buildings up between the Gymnasium and Jaffa (or the Sea-or the Yarkon)? Here fill in the name of the Fund, Office, or Party the official represents.
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